Stradivarius to be auctioned for Japan earthquake appeal

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Exceptionally well-preserved violin to be sold in June

A Stradivarius violin which sold for £6m ($10m) in 2008 is to be auctioned off to raise money for the Japan earthquake relief efforts.

The 290-year-old 'Lady Blunt' Stradivarius – named after the poet Lord Byron’s granddaughter, who once owned the violin – is to be sold by the Nippon Music Foundation. The proceeds of the sale will be donated to their Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

Over 14,000 people are known to have died and nearly 11,000 are still missing in Japan after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused a devastating tsunami in March.

‘Each of the instruments in our collection is very dear to us’ Kazuko Shiomi, president of the Nippon Music Foundation, told BBC News. ‘However, the extent of the devastation facing Japan is very serious and we feel that everyone and every organisation should make some sacrifice for those affected by this tragedy.’

The ‘Lady Blunt’ violin, one of the best preserved Stradivarius instruments to be sold in recent times, will be available for public viewing at the Westbury Hotel in London (19 and 20 June) before being sold in an online auction on 20 June 2011 by the internet-based auction house Tarisio.

Annie Reece