Sale of $16 Million Violin to Benefit Japanese Quake Victims

Posted June 21st, 2011 at 12:05 am (UTC-5)
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A Japanese foundation has raised almost $16 million for earthquake and tsunami victims with the sale at auction in London of a rare Stradivarius violin.

The Tarisio auction house said an anonymous bidder purchased the instrument Monday for $15,894,000 – more than four times the highest previous price for a violin.

The instrument was made in 1721 and is in near perfect condition. It was once owned by Lady Anne Blunt, a granddaughter of the famed English poet Lord Byron.

Japan's Nippon Music Foundation said it considered the violin an “irreplaceable” part of its collection, but that it felt the extremity of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami justified the decision. It said the entire proceeds of the sale will go to help victims of the disasters.

The foundation retains another 20 stringed instruments, which it lends free of charge to top musicians around the world.

The so-called Lady Blunt violin is one of about 600 made by Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivari that are still in existence.