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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 13:03 GMT
Rare violin fetches £608,750
A violinist plays the sale's Stradivarius violin
Stradivari's instruments are considered the best in the world
A rare Stradivarius violin, thought never to have been played in a public concert, has sold for £608,750 at auction in London.

The final amount was less than the £650,000 to £850,000 predicted sale price, but a spokesman said Christie's was "delighted" with the outcome of Wednesday's sale.

The identity of the buyer was not disclosed but was described as a "private collector" who attended the event in person.

The world record auction price paid for a Stradivari violin was £947,500 for The Kreutzer at Christie's in April 1998.

Antonio Stradivari is considered the most distinguished violin maker in the history of the instrument.

Stradivari facts
Born in Cremona, Italy, in 1644
Began his prolific career around 1660
Worked until his death, aged 92
Crafted instruments for King James II
Also designed the cases and made bows
Only 500 examples of his work thought still to exist

This 1726 example of his work was the highlight of the Christie's bi-annual musical instrument sale.

There are thought to be only 500 remaining examples of Stradivari's skills and the Christie's violin was made when he was 82 years old.

The violin, labelled Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis, Faciebat Anno 1726 AS, had had several owners before Wednesday.

It was once owned by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, one of the greatest French violin makers and foremost dealers of the 19th Century.

The instrument was then acquired by the distinguished violin collector, David Laurie of Glasgow.

Excellence

In 1885, Laurie sold it to William Ebsworth Hill, a specialist violin restorer and an authority on string instruments.

The violin then passed through the hands of various private collectors, including James H Cecil Hozier MP, a prominent Mason.

Stradivari was born in Cremona, Italy, in 1644 and began his career in 1660, as a pupil of Nicoḷ Amati, and continued producing instruments until his death in 1737.

Coveted

During the 18th Century, Stradivari's unrivalled reputation for excellence extended throughout Europe.

His instruments were coveted by royalty, noblemen and church dignitaries, as well as the most renowned musicians.

Stradivari's later works are said to be some of his most powerful sounding instruments and the most coveted by musicians.

Despite advances in modern technology, many concert violinists feel instruments created by 17th Century Italian masters like Stradivari have the better sound.

See also:

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