The Molitor Stradivarius held the world record for the highest price a violin is sold in an auction in 2010, with a value of US$3.6 million. The value is slightly higher than its predecessor, the Hammer Stradivarius, which was sold at US$3.544 million in 2006.
However, the Lady Blunt Stradivarius toppled the world record price in a 2011 auction, by commanding a price of US$16 million, 4 times higher than that of the Molitor.
The Molitor, a 1697 Stradivarius made in the beginning of Stradivari’s ‘golden period’, is rumored to be once owned by Nopoleon Bonaparte.
Molitor Stradivarius. Credit: Wikipedia
During World War I, Molitor Stradivarius had also seen multiple transactions, and was sold by the famous Parisian dealers Caressa & Francais, and Charles Enel. In 1929, the violin found itself under the trusteeship of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia for loaning out to promising violinists. In 1989, the Molitor was then bought by American violinist Elmar Oliveria at Christie’s.
Several violinists have performed with the Molitor Stradivarius, and they includes Jascha Brodsky, who played with Curtis String Quartet for almost half a century, and Ethel Stark, the founder of Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra.
When interviewed, Jason Price, the director of Tarisio described the Molitor Stradivarius as “the perfect convergence of historically important provenance, impeccable conduction and first class sound”.