The exceptionally well-preserved Stradivarius violin known as the Lady Blunt went up for auction this morning (June 21) in Japan.
Any Stradivarius violin is likely to be valuable. But in the case of the 1721 violin which was offered by the Nippon Music Foundation it has set records several times over. So hopes had already been raised for a strong result.
The final sale price could do a great deal of good, with the proceeds going to the Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.
The Lady Blunt violin impresses all that encounter it. "This extraordinary violin is in much the same condition as when it left its maker's hands, and it can be placed alongside the 'Messie' of 1716, that is in the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, England." claimed Andrew Hill of W E Hill, 2010.
He was echoing a similar assessment made by W E Hill nearly 60 years earlier, during the Second World War.
London-based auctioneer Tarisio sold the violin, which brought a world record price of £9.8m ($15.9m), easily beating expectations of $10m.
This shows just what an extraordinary investment it has been for its owner. In 1971, it was sold for a comparatively affordable £84,000, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate of 12.64%. You might struggle to find an investment that good in the stock market.
Despite its being owned by several well-known collectors and experts including WE Hill & Son, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, the Baron Johann Knoop and Sam Bloomfield, the instrument was named after grand-daughter of Lord Byron, Lady Anne Blunt who owned it for 30 years.
Blunt (1837- 1917) was a colourful member of the British aristocracy, known not only for her stewardship of the pristine violin that acquired her name, but also for her work in breeding Arabian horses.