For reference only, fine examples of

Classic Italian Violins


"MacDonald" Stradivari    ca. 1719

Macdonald Strad viola 1719


"Lipinski" Stradivari    ca. 1715

1715 Lipinski Strad


"Lady Blunt" Stradivari    ca. 1721

Lady Blunt

Lady Blunt photo X-large  


    G.B. Guadagnini

G.B. Guadagnini / aka J.B. Guadagnini

Late period Guadagnini 1775

(©2006 photo courtesy of Leroy Douglas)

more photos  


"Il Cannone" Guarneri del Gesù    1743

 Guarneri del gesu

Since 1851 property of city of Genoa, Italy -  the del Gesù owned and played by Paganini.

(photo courtesy of Il Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Italia)

alternate view    

sister violin of 1743    


CT scan 1735 Guarneri   1735 Guarneri "del Gesù"

   Transaxial CT scan (Computed Tomography) of Guarneri del Gesù violin

   thru c-bout region upper corner

(courtesy of LoenBormanandKing, Sept2005)   

Strad motiff _________________________________________________________________________                       

"Le Messie" Stradivari 1716                  Le Messie Strad 1716

Housed at the Ashmolean Museum since 1939, remains unplayed, according to the provisions of its bequest.

(photo courtesy of ArjunBharioke Toronto, Ontario, Canada)


additional photos    


CT Strad      Stradivari  (date not specified)     

     Computed Tomography;
     CT scan transaxial image of a Stradivari violin
     thru the widest part of the lower bout

(Courtesy of Sirr&Waddle 19 (3): 639 -- RadioGraphics 1999)                  


"King of Spain" Stradivari    ca. 1696


One of the decorated violins from the collection at the Palacio Real Madrid, Spain.

X-large alt. view     

alt. decorated Strad     

(photo courtesy of HÃ¥kanXauxaSvensson, Sweden)


1669 Nicolo' Amati                          


         Matched set in the Vazquez Collection of Historical Stringed Instruments, Vienna, Austria.

(photo courtesy of the OrpheonFoundation (Liechtenstein)/ MuseumofMusical Instruments/ Vienna, Austria)

1669 additional photos    


Nicolo Amati in 1654  CAT scan

CT scan  -  transaxial image of the Amati violin                        
thru the c-bout region lower corner blocks                         

(Courtesy of Consulting Radiologists, Ltd., Dr.SteveSirr, and JohnWaddle, St.Paul MN)


Andrea Amati   ca. 1566

Andrea Amati Andrea Amati

Il violino "Carlo IX" di Francia-  property City of Cremona.

(photo courtesy of PeriodicoCremonaLiutaria)                                                                                                                      more photos of an Andrea Amati  

photo decorated Brothers Amati viola  


``The Hammer'' Stradivari 1707


Stradivari Violin Fetches a Record $3.54 M at Christie's N.Y. Hammer Strad

By KatyaKazakina -

May 16,2006 (Bloomberg)- A 1707 Stradivari violin known as ``The Hammer'' sold for $3.54 million at Christie's International Plc in New York, setting a new auction record for a musical instrument of any kind.
(**see below)

The tally for the violin created by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona exceeded the presale high estimate of $2.5 million. The purchaser, who was not identified, made the winning bid by telephone.

Only 620 Stradivari violins are believed to have survived, and the last one to come up for sale, in April 2005
at Christie's N.Y., fetched $2.03 million -- a record at the time.

``The Hammer'' is named after its first recorded owner, 19th-century Swedish jeweler and collector Christian Hammer. It is considered superior in sound and craftsmanship to many other Stradivari creations because it was made ``smack in the middle of what we refer to as Stradivari's `golden period,' which was between 1700 and 1720,'' said Kerry Keane, head of Christie's musical instruments department.

The Hammer, whose back measures 14 inches long, displays the label ``Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1707'' on the inside. Keane said it has a clear, bell-like sound that can be heard over an orchestra in the very back of a large concert hall.

(photo courtesy of LefterisPitarakis /AP)

Loaned to Violinist-   Since 1992, the ``Hammer'' violin has been owned by a Japanese oil company, which lent it to Japanese-born, New York-based violinist Kyoko Takezawa for 12 years. She played it at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, among other major venues, until a year ago, she said. The violin ``has sweetness, but on the other hand a very strong, concentrated sound that can penetrate big concert halls,'' Takezawa said. ``It can create a three-dimensional sound in musical interpretation.''

Lady Tennant Before today's auction, Christie's had already realized the top four Stradivari sales. In 1990, the ``Mendelssohn'' violin, made in 1720, sold for $1.8 million, a record for its time. Also known as the ``Red Mendelssohn,'' because of its rich, red finish, it inspired the 1998 film, ``The Red Violin. In 1998, the ``Kreutzer'' from 1727 sold for $1.6 million. Two years later, the 1700 ``Taft, Ex Emil Heermann'' brought $1.3 million. Then in April 2005, the 1699 ``The Lady Tennant'' went for $2.03 million, setting the world auction record for a musical instrument.

(** The overall sale included a "Les Paul electric guitar", this set the world auction record for the highest ever musical instrument sale at $5.5m)

``Lady Tennant'' in auction at Christie's ---> XL here

(photo courtesy of AmandaBenson/CNS)


The rediscovered Guarneri Del Gesu violin

(orginal photo credit Sotheby?)

"ex-Vieuxtemps" Del Gesù Breaks Auction Record

From The Times UK
February 14, 2008
DalyaAlberge, Arts Correspondent

In London a private treaty sale of the 1741 violin, was negotiated by Sotheby’s, which declined to reveal the price paid by a Russian businessman, breaking the world auction record for any musical instrument. The figure was said to be “well in excess” of the world auction record of $3.54 million, which was achieved by a Stradivari sold at Christie’s New York in 2006.

The Sotheby’s Del Gesù was once owned and adored as his “inseparable companion” by Henri Vieuxtemps, the 19th-century composer and violin prodigy who impressed Schumann with his playing. Later it remained in the same private family collection for more than 100 years.

``Prized violin plays again for Moscow's elite''

Helen Womack in Moscow
Monday March 24, 2008

Violinist Pinchas Zuckerman played the 250 year-old Guarnerius del Gesu violin during a concert in Pashkov House, Moscow, March 21 2008.

The most expensive musical instrument in the world was played in public for the first time for more than 70 years to 160 guests in Moscow on Saturday in a demonstration of Russia's growing economic and cultural status. Lawyer Maxim Viktorov invited the cream of Moscow society to the private concert at Pashkov House to show off the Guarneri del Gesù violin he bought at Sotheby's in February for a record-breaking $3.9m (nearly £2m).

The Israeli virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman performed a programme of Bach, Mozart and Bruch with the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre. "I tried out the instrument a little in London before I bought it," said Viktorov, 35, a violin collector who likes to play to the piano accompaniment of his wife, Anastasia. "But since then, I haven't been able to touch it. This instrument cannot bear any agitation. I want the maestro, who lives by his art, to be the first to play it so that the violin feels it is receiving the respect it deserves. Then I might find the strength to play it myself because it's a great source of energy." Violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù (1698-1745) are even more prized than instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, who like Guarneri worked in Cremona. The instrument bought by Viktorov was made in 1741 and later belonged to Henri Vieuxtemps, the Belgian composer and violin prodigy, who was court soloist to Tsar Alexander II. The concert was due to be repeated for a wider audience last night at the Moscow Conservatory, but on Saturday the applause for Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor was polite; the applause for Mozart's Violin Concerto Number 5 in A Major was faint. When the familiar and rousing last movement of Max Bruch's Violin Concerto in G Minor ended, the audience clapped with considerably more enthusiasm, bringing Zukerman back to the stage for three bows. Despite his virtuosity on the venerable instrument, however, there were few shouts of "bravo", let alone a standing ovation. Referring to the relative decline of Moscow as a cultural centre in the turbulent 1990s, Viktorov said: "We need to build up the energy again so that artists who are regarded as the best in the world are seen here regularly. Modern Russia is not just about oil and gas. It's about culture, too."


Violins by Giuseppe Guarneri (del Gesù) are rarer than those by Antonio Stradivari because only about 150 have survived, compared with 600 Strads. Viktorov prizes the del Gesù because he says it has more depth of sound. Pinchas Zuckerman normally only ever plays his own instrument, also a del Gesù, made in 1742. "I wasn't sure he would agree to play my instrument," said Viktorov. "But he took it in his hands and played for seven seconds, after which he said the last time he had that feeling was when he touched his own instrument for the first time." The violins were made within a year of each other from the same wood. "These violins are sisters," said Viktorov, "and they met again in Moscow after more than 250 years."

"Guarneri Violin Sold for $10 Million"

Sunday, October 25, 2009 NYT

Aaron Rosan Jean E. Brubaker Aaron Rosand with his “Kochanski” Guarneri del Gesù violin in March 2007.

With tears in his eyes, the violinist Aaron Rosand left his soul behind in a London hotel suite last week.

That is how he described the sale of the instrument he had played for more than 50 years, the famed ex-Kochanski Guarneri del Gesù. The buyer was a Russian billionaire whom Mr. Rosand declined to identify and who paid perhaps the highest price ever for a violin: about $10 million.

“I just felt as if I left part of my body behind,” Mr. Rosand said on Wednesday, overflowing with metaphors for what the instrument meant to him. “It was my voice. It was my career.”

Mr. Rosand said he immediately donated $1.5 million to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, as he had promised two years ago. Mr. Rosand attended the conservatory and has long taught there. “It was my first obligation, but it is not the end of what I will give to the school,” he said. “It’s all part of the legacy I want to leave behind. The violin, I suppose, is part of it too. It’s paying back the school that meant so much to me.”

Mr. Rosand said the buyer had also agreed to a request to allow other violinists to play the instrument.

“I had to do it,” Mr. Rosand, 82, said of his painful decision. “I’m getting up there in years,” he said, and his playing days are over. “I wanted to see it fall into hands where the violin would be played by prominent players.”

Geoffrey Fushi, owner of Bein & Fushi in Chicago, a major dealer and restorer of string instruments, said he had heard about the Kochanski sale and confirmed the $10 million figure. He said another famous violin, the “Lady Blunt” Stradivarius had been sold in 2008 for about the same amount, considered a record at the time.

Mr. Rosand, a prominent soloist in his day, acquired the instrument in 1957. It took him 10 years to pay off the loans for it. Meanwhile, he said he was besieged by other virtuosos who wanted to buy it from him.

“I’ve made 35, 36 recordings on it,” Mr. Rosand said. “At least there’s a living legacy of what I’ve done with that violin.”

The ex-Kochanski dates to 1741 and is considered one of the finest Guarneri instruments in existence. Like many famous violins, it acquired the name of one of its owners, Paul Kochanski, a Polish virtuoso who died in 1934.

“I suppose it’ll now be known as the ex-Rosand,” its new former owner said.

  Recent Instrument Sales Private & at Auction:             Sold for (US dollars):
  Penny Stradivari violin of 1700             $1,300,000
  Dolphin Stradivari violin of 1714             $5,500,000
  Bass of Spain Stradivari cello of 1713             $5,000,000
  Hausmann Stradivari cello of 1724             $4,500,000
  DeMunck Stradivari cello of 1730             $5,000,000
  Ries Stradivari violin of 1699             $3,500,000
  The Maiden Stradivari violin of 1708             $5,500,000
  General Kyd Stradivari violin of 1714             $5,500,000
  La Pucelle Stradivari violin of 1709             $6,000,000
  Hammer Stradivari violin of 1707             $3,544,000
  Lord Wilton Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1742             $6,000,000
  ex-Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1741             $3,540,000
  King Joseph Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1737             $6,000,000
  Carrodus Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1743             $4,500,000
  Kemp Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1738             $6,000,000
  Paganini Josephus filius AndreaG. violin of 1696             $1,000,000
  Matteo Goffriller cello              $1,500,000
  Sleaping Beauty Domenico Montagnana cello             $3,000,000
  Kochanski Guarneri del Gesù 1741             $10,000,000

To help put this in perspective by contrast:


• On December 6, 2007 this sculpture sold for $57.2 Million
Guennol Lioness

• On June 19, 2007 this chair sold for $913,600
"Greene & Greene Armchair"

• On June 19, 2006 a record $135 million
for this 1907 Gustav Klimt painting,
"the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer"

• In 2004 $104.1 M for Picasso's 1905
"Boy With a Pipe"