Violin

This Stradivarius violin helped mark Hollywood classics. Now it could fetch $20 million at auction.

If you’re a fan of classical instruments, you might like it: a 1714 Stradivarius, dubbed the “da Vinci, ex-Seidel” Strad, will be auctioned next month.

The violin is part of the “golden period” of Antonio Stradivari’s production, which spans from 1710 to 1720. For nearly four decades in the 20th century, it was owned by Russian musician Toscha Seidel, who used it during his long career in Hollywood.

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“It is our immense pleasure to present this instrument, whose exquisite voice still speaks to us through many classic recordings and film scores performed by the incomparable Toscha Seidel,” said Carlos Tome, director of the auction house. online Tarisio, in a statement. “We can only imagine the thrill this instrument has generated for countless musicians and audiences over the centuries.”

The one-piece maple back of the “da Vinci, ex-Seidel”  Stradivarius - Credit: Tarisio

The one-piece maple back of the “da Vinci, ex-Seidel” Stradivarius – Credit: Tarisio

Tarisio

According to Tarisio, the “da Vinci, ex-Seidel” violin is slightly more refined than other instruments of the same era. Its edges and threads are narrower and its angles less blunt. Additionally, it features a beautiful one-piece maple back, although Stradivari was known to have made more two-piece backs in the 1710s.

Seidel bought this specific violin in the 1920s for $25,000, which would be over $400,000 today. The sale made headlines, with Seidel recounting The New York Times, “We suit each other perfectly, and I am convinced that this is one of the finest examples of the famous luthier.” The violinist will then play Strad during innumerable performances, in particular in the film music of The Wizard of Oz and Intermezzo.

The violin was last sold at auction in 1974, when it fetched over $3 million in today’s dollars. It is currently owned by Tokuji Munetsugu, a Japanese businessman who collects rare string instruments.

Although no price has been publicly announced for the violin, Tome told the Time that he expects it to be between $15 and $20 million. If it falls somewhere between those numbers, it could break the current auction record for a Stradivarius, which belongs to “Lady Blunt,” a violin that sold for $15.9 million in 2011.

Unlike this instrument, which was almost never played, the “da Vinci, ex-Seidel” helped create the sound of Hollywood. This backstage movie star is sure to be an auction star too.

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