The Messiah Stradivarius violin on 1716, is one of the most valuable violins among the 600 Strads left in the world today. Much of the high value and prestige is due to the fact that it was made during Stradivari‘s “golden period“, and it is one that has not ever been played, after almost 300 years in existence.
During the 19th century, the Messiah Stradivarius passed through the hands of famous violin maker of that era, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.
The violin was named the Messiah by violinist Jean-Delphin Alard, Vuillaume’s son-in-law, and called it “Le Messie“- the violin is like the Messiah of the Jews, because one always waits for him but never appears.
Messiah Stradivarius at Ashmolean Museum. Credit: Wikipedia
Today, the Messiah Stradivarius was under the guardianship of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. The violin is very close to the original condition when it left Stradivari’s workshop in 1737.
Though the Messiah Stradivarius has not been auctioned publicly, it was worth an estimated US$20 million.
In recent years, controversies were rife about the legitimacy of the Messiah Stradivarius which is exhibited at Ashmolean Museum. Stewart Pollens, an expert in high-precision instrument photography sparked the controversy when he was asked to do a catalog on the Ashmolean’s collection.
Till today, no one could give a definite answer.