Benito Mussolini's Amati violin to highlight musical instrument sale

An Amati violin owned by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini will be among the top lots at Bonhams' sale of musical instruments in London on May 12.

It is estimated to auction for around ?�100,000-150,000 ($167,410-251,115).

Mussolini violin Bonhams
Mussolini played the violin regularly

It is thought to have been produced in around 1700 by Hieronymus Amati, whose grandfather Andrea invented the violin, viola and cello in the 1600s.

Despite his illustrious lineage, violins produced by Hieronymus are generally viewed as inferior to those made by his father (who taught Stradivarius) or grandfather.

Mussolini led the Italian National Fascist Party to victory in a 1922 election and ruled until his downfall in 1943 - when he was hung upside down in a petrol station.

Phillip Scott, Bonhams' director of musical instruments, commented: "Amati violins are keenly sought after for the quality of their craftsmanship and the beauty of their sound.

"This violin by the last of the family to devote his career to instrument making has, of course, the additional fascination of a direct link to a well known historical figure."

In 2011, a suitcase carried by Mussolini during his attempted flight from Italy in 1943 sold for $6,325 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

We have this autographed typed letter from Winston Churchill, who had praised Mussolini in the 1920s and 1930s for his work in bulwarking against communism.

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