The Kreutzer, a rare Stradivarius violin that has languished in the home of a reclusive US heiress, is expected to sell for $10m at Christie's.
The violin will be sold in a sealed bid auction, with bids accepted from June 6.
The final sale will be confirmed on June 18, coinciding with the sale of fine art, rare books and furniture from the estate of Huguette M Clark, daughter of senator and industrialist William A Clark, who died at 104 in 2011, leaving behind a fortune of over $300m.
Sotheby's will auction an extremely rare Stradivarius viola in a similar sealed bid affair, with a record breaking estimate of $45m+. The current record for a Stradivarius instrument is held by the Lady Blunt violin at £9.8m ($15.9m).
The Kreutzer was found in Clark's closet, having been there for at least 25 years. It was named after the great French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, who is described by Christie's as "perhaps best known as the dedicatee of Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 9, Opus 47, also known as the Kreutzer Sonata."
The violin was created in 1731, with Kreutzer playing it from about 1795 to his death in 1831, when it was passed to his protégée Joseph Lambert Massart. It then passed through several important collections, until William Clark bought it in 1920 for the teenaged Huguette Clark.
Starring in the main auction of Clark's estate is John Singer Sargent's Girl Fishing, which is estimated at $3m-5m.
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