€2.7m Strad smashes violin auction records

A STRADIVARIUS violin last night smashed records to become the most expensive musical instrument sold at auction.

The violin — known as The Hammer and dating from 1707 — sold for over $3.5 million (€2.73m) at Christie’s in New York.

The previous record for an instrument was set last year by another Stradivarius, The Lady Tennant, which was snapped up for $2.03m (€1.58m).

The Hammer was made in Cremona, Italy, during the so-called golden period of Antonio Stradivari’s career, between 1700 and 1720.

It takes its name from the 19th-century Swedish collector Christian Hammer and has been in the possession of its present owner since 1992.

In 1990 it fetched what was then a world auction record for a Stradivarius at Christie’s in London.

There are only about 620 Stradivarius violins still in existence.

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