The ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius of 1721 Sets World Record Price at Tarisio Auctions
Sold for £9.808.000 to private bidder ($15,894,000)
June 21, 2011, London – Tarisio, the online auction house for fine instruments, sold the ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius violin of 1721 for a world-record price of £9,808,000 ($15,894,000) at their June 20 auction, over 4 times the previous auction record fora Stradivari violin. It was bought by an anonymous bidder after extremely active bidding. 100% of proceeds from the sale will go to aid Japan through the Nippon Foundation’s Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.
The sale of the ‘Lady Blunt’ sparked massive interest from collectors around the globe, eager for the unique opportunity to own a piece of history. Owned for 30 years by Lady Anne Blunt, granddaughter of the famous English poet Lord Byron, the violin has also belonged to the famed Parisian dealer Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, the collectors Richard Bennett, the Baron Knoop and Sam Bloomfield, and The Nippon Music Foundation. Remarkably, as Andrew Hill of the W. E. Hill firm points out, the violin “…is in much the same condition as when it left its maker’s hands.”
Antonio Stradivari produced violins, violas and cellos in Cremona, Italy, of which some 600 are still in existence. His instruments are in high demand by the world’s great soloists and the most discerning collectors. Of the Stradivari violins that are still in private hands the ‘Lady Blunt’ is said to be in the most pure condition with the most original features and its varnish still mainly undisturbed.
This was the first time that the violin has sold publicly since 1971 when it was sold at Sotheby’s for £84,000, also a world record at the time. The ‘Lady Blunt’ was offered for sale this year by The Nippon Music Foundation, owners of a number of the world’s finest Stradivari and Guarneri instruments. Says Ms. Kazuko Shiomi, President of the Nippon Music Foundation, “While this violin was very important to our collection, the needs of our fellow Japanese people after the March 11 tragedy have proven that we all need to help, in any way we can. The donation will be put to immediate use on the ground in Japan.”
Jason Price, Director of Tarisio, said, “We are deeply honored that we were able to facilitate such a historic sale for such a worthy cause. The ‘Lady Blunt’ is without doubt the best-preserved Stradivarius to come on the market in 40 years and this was truly a once in a lifetime sale for everyone involved.”