Rare Stradivari viola fails to sell
in sealed-bid auction
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[June 26, 2014]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rare
Stradivari viola, considered to be one of the finest musical
instruments in the world, failed to sell in a sealed bid auction
with a minimum bid of $45 million, Sotheby's said on Wednesday.
The "Macdonald" viola, which was made by the famous Italian
artisan Antonio Stradivari in 1719, is one of only two still
privately owned, and was last on the market 50 years ago.
"At this time, no sale has taken place," said a spokesman for
If the viola had reached the minimum bid, it would have been the
most world's most expensive instrument. The current world record
auction price for a musical instrument is $15.9 million, which
was achieved in an online auction in June 2011 for the "Lady
Blunt" Stradivari violin made in 1721.
Tim Ingles, director of the London-based fine instruments
auction house Ingles & Hayday which conducted the sale with
Sotheby's, said the viola is so rare because so few of them were
"A Stradivari viola has always been, I suppose, the Holy Grail
for a collector of musical instruments," he said in an interview
ahead of the sale.
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The "Macdonald" is considered to be the finest of all the Stradivari
violas, he added. It was made between 1700-20, which is considered
the artisan's golden period.
The instrument was being sold by the family of Peter Schidlof, of
the famed Amadeus Quartet, who bought it in 1964. It is called the
"Macdonald" because it was purchased in the 1820s by Godfrey
Bosville, the 3rd Baron Macdonald.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and G
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