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This 1679 Stradivarius Could Fetch up to £9 Million at Auction

The centuries-old fiddle is inlaid with diamond-shaped pieces of ivory.

Stradivarius Hellier Violin Christie's

This is one Stradivarius that’s sure to strike a note with collectors.

The rare violin, affectionally known as the Hellier, was made by the one and only Antonio Stradivari in the late 17th century. A true piece of musical history, it is expected to fetch between £6 million and £9 million at Christie’s London this July.

The instrument was handcrafted by the legendary violin maker circa 1679 in the early stages of his career. Stradivari decided to break with tradition and create a violin with new proportions that helped to enrich the tone. The Hellier went on to become the “blueprint” of future violin models and greatly impacted the future of music, according to the auction house.

On top of that, it’s embellished with precious gems. Christie’s says of the roughly 1,100 violins Stradivari made over the course of his career, only around a dozen sport such decoration. The fiddle is etched with flowers and vines, inlaid with 500 diamond-shaped pieces of ivory and finished with a golden varnish, according to the auction house.

Stradivarius Hellier Violin

The violin expected to fetch between £6 million and £9 million  Christie’s Images Ltd 2022

It’s a prime example of Stradivari’s extraordinary skill in free-hand inlaying. In fact, Christie’s has labelled it the finest inlaid violin ever made by the craftsman and one of the finest Stradivarius instruments in existence. The Smithsonian curators also consider it the best-preserved embellished example.

Stradivari is thought to have kept the instrument for 55 years, before selling it in 1734 for a now astounding £40 to Samuel Hellier of Wombourne, Staffordshire (which explains the violin’s nickname), although a family will suggests that it may have entered the Hellier family sometime earlier. The instrument remained in the Hellier family for nearly two centuries, before cycling through a few private collectors in Europe and the US. It’s also been loaned to the Smithsonian and the Museo Civico in Italy.

“Having handled countless Stradivaris, including some of the finest examples, this is without a doubt one of the most exciting, beautiful and impressive instruments in existence,” Florian Leonhard, a consultant for Christie’s London, said in a statement.“ This violin epitomises, more than most, the vision of Stradivari’s ability to develop things forward; a reason why he deserves his place in the zenith as the unsurpassed violin maker of all time.”

The Hellier will lead the Exceptional Sale on July 7 at Christie’s London. It will be on view the week prior to the auction should you wish to take a gander.

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