Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1732, the 'Red Diamond'

Violin: 22514

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"On Jan. 16, 1952, as a violent rainstorm pelted Los Angeles, Sascha Jacobsen, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, was driving along the coastal highway to Pacific Palisades, the Red Diamond in its case beside him. His car stalled near Santa Monica and water from an overflowing stream began to surround the vehicle and fill it up. Seeking to escape the flood, Jacobsen grasped his violin case, stepped from the car into the rising waters and struggled through the torrent to higher ground. The Red Diamond was swept from his arms and out to sea as he barely made his way to safety. He watched, helpless, as the violin case floated away.

The next day, a prominent Los Angeles attorney, Frederick H. Sturdy, was walking along the beach of the Bel Air country club and spotted a violin case stuck in the sand. Inside the case he found slime, sand, water--and the pieces of a violin. By amazing coincidence, Sturdy was a friend of Alfred Wallenstein, music director of the Philharmonic. When he learned the following day of Jacobsen's disaster and the loss of the Red Diamond, Sturdy immediately contacted Wallenstein. Identified as the lost Strad, the salt water-logged and sand-encrusted violin parts were entrusted to Hans Weisshaar, an outstanding luthier. Over the next nine months, Weisshaar painstakingly restored the violin, returning it to its "former glory…both in tone and appearance," Jacobsen later wrote in appreciation. He told friends the Red Diamond sounded "better than ever."

In 1971, a few years after Jacobsen's death, the Red Diamond was sold at auction by Sotheby's in London for $67,600--far more than it was insured for at the time of its ocean ordeal. The violin was put on the auction block by Sotheby's again in 1985, with an asking price of more than $1 million, but was not sold at that time. A few years later, an anonymous collector purchased it privately for an undisclosed sum--surely paying as much for the magic of its reincarnation as for its other exemplary attributes."

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Illustrated in The Strad, Sep. 1985.

How Many Strads?, Doring, Bein & Fushi, Doring, Bein & Fushi, How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Chicago

George Hart, who was a violinist as well as a dealer, maintained the instrument throughout his lifetime, as he preferred it to any other that came into his possession, and his opportunities for acquiring the finest instruments were at that time practically unlimited.

The Stradivarius Memorial Association, William Dana Orcutt, The Stradivari Memorial (1977), New York


Luigi Tarisio
George Haddock
until 1860 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume
1860-1907 Professor Herwyn
1907-1912 George Hart
1908-1937 Francis Jay Underhill
from 1912 R. C. Underhill
in 1937 Sold by Emil Herrmann, New York
in 1937 Mrs. John W. Garrett
from 1937 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
until 1971 The Evergreen House Foundation
in 1971 Sold by Sotheby's
1971-1972 W. E. Hill & Sons
from 1972 Robin Loh
until 1999 Machold Rare Violins, Ltd
from 1999 Anonymous
from c. 2012 Current owner

Known players

Sascha Jacobsen

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Machold Rare Violins, Ltd, Vienna (1999)
  • Certificate: Machold Rare Violins, Ltd, Vienna (1991)
  • Certificate: Machold Rare Violins, Ltd, Vienna (1989) X-522.
  • Certificate: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1972)
  • Receipt: Emil Herrmann, New York, New York, NY (1937) To Mrs. John W. Garrett.
  • Certificate: Emil Herrmann, New York, New York, NY (1937) With three signed photos.
  • Letter: George Hart, London (1913) To F. J. Underhill.
  • Certificate: Hart & Son, London (1908)

Cozio holds copies of many certificates and other documents, some of which are available to view on request. Please contact us if you wish to view a particular document. (Note that we do not always have permission to share documents.)


  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (illustrated)
  • Four Centuries of Violin Making: Fine Instruments from the Sotheby's Archive, Sotheby's, Sotheby's, Boston (illustrated)
  • home | Cigar Aficionado
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999 (illustrated)
  • Sotheby's Important Musical Instruments Auction Catalog, December 16, 1971, London, Sotheby's, Sotheby's, London (illustrated)
  • Sotheby's Musical Instruments Auction Catalog, Part II, November 14, 1985, London, Sotheby's, Sotheby's, London (illustrated)
  • Sotheby's Photo Archive
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Box 43 (illustrated)
  • The Stradivari Memorial (1977), William Dana Orcutt, Da Capo Press, New York (illustrated)
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)
  • W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive (illustrated)


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