Last year, the Lady Tennant Stradivari violin broke record by selling for $2.03 million. This May, once again at Christie’s, another Stradivari violin may well break that record. The violin, known by the indelicate name of the ‘The Hammer’ after the 19th century Swedish collector Christian Hammer, has been given a pre-sale estimate of between $1.5 million and $2.5 million. ‘The Hammer’ was made in 1707. This is significant because 1700 to 1720 was the master’s ‘golden period.’ The Lady Tennant was created in 1699 so The Hammer may bring in a little more money than that violin.
I am glad I play guitar… I wonder whether these valuable violins are loaned to top players or whether they languish in some temperatur and humidity-controlled safe somewhere. I imagine a violin is like a guitar or any instrument – if it does not get played it deteriorates.