A near three-century-old instrument lauded as a Leonardo da Vinci of violins could fetch as much as $10.6 million when it is auctioned next month.
Crafted in 1736 by revered Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri, it is owned by virtuoso Regis Pasquier and its sound has graced concert halls around the world.
“There are many violins, but this one is like selling a Rembrandt, a Goya or even a Leonardo da Vinci painting,” Sophie Perrine of the Aguttes auction house near Paris said on Wednesday.
The maple-backed instrument is one of about 150 made by Guarneri, the quality and longevity of whose output rivals that of Antonio Stradivari but who was far less prolific than his compatriot and contemporary.
Made at the peak of Guarneri’s career, it was bought more than twenty years ago by Pasquier, who gave a concert with it following day without even practicing on it, Perrine said.
“For him, this instrument was perfect.”
He has since played it at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall in New York and the Opera Garnier in Paris.
The violin will go up for auction on June 3 following a three-day viewing.
Its base price estimate is $4.30 to $4.75 million, but Perrine said it could sell for up to $10.6 million.
“It’s both something very old but yet very current and alive,” she said.
“And this little thing will continue allowing people to hear its exceptional sound for years to come.”
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