Japanese Stradivarius violin sold for $15 million at auction

A Stradivarius violin put up for sale by a Japanese businessman has sold for more than $15 million in New York, Tarisio Auctions announced Thursday.

The fiddle, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1714 during the Italian craftsman’s “golden era”, was assembled by Tokuji Munetsugu, founder of Japanese curry restaurant chain operator CoCo Ichibanya, who owned it since 2007 .

The identity of the successful bidder was not immediately known.

Called “da Vinci, ex-Seidel”, and worth $15,340,000, the instrument once belonged to Toscha Seidel, one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century, and was played by him on the tape original from the Oscar-winning 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.”

Tarisio Auction said the instrument was “seeking, alluring and in excellent condition” and belonged to an “elite group” of instruments from the golden period.

Munetsugu, described by the auction house as a “passionate classical music lover”, supports talented young international artists with major instrument loans through the Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Munetsugu wanted the more than 300-year-old violin to be used outside of Japan, where it was rented, according to the person.

The highest auction price for a violin is another Stradivarius which sold in 2011 for around $16 million at a London auction, according to Tarisio.

The instrument was listed by the Nippon Music Foundation to raise funds for the victims of the massive earthquakes and tsunamis that devastated the northeastern region of Japan that year.

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