News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - New York — Leading the international musical instruments auction market, Christie’s is pleased to
announce the sale of a Stradivari violin known as The Hammer
(estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000). Made in Cremona by Antonio
Stradivari in the year 1707, the violin will be sold in New York on
May 16. Christie’s holds the world record price for any musical
instrument sold at auction with the sale of The Lady Tennant,
Stradivari which realized $2,032,000 in April of 2005.
The Hammer survives in a wonderful state of preservation. With
its superb outline and the use of the finest materials, the violin
dates from the maker’s ‘Golden Period’ (1700-1720). These
works are the ones most coveted by collectors and musicians for
both their beauty and superior tonal qualities.
The violin’s name, The Hammer, derives from the 19th century Swedish collector of the same name
(Christian Hammer). Its importance was not lost on the greatest connoisseurs of the day, William E.
Hill and Sons, who mentioned the violin in their seminal book Antonio Stradivari, His Life and Work,
published in London in 1909. The provenance of The Hammer weaves a story of ownership by
concert artists, collectors and connoisseurs in varied fields, with a unique history of nearly 80 years
of possession by wealthy U.S. businessmen.
Purchased in 1911 from Hart & Son, the violin was brought to America by the violinist, teacher and
collector Bernard Sinsheimer who had owned no fewer than five violins by Stradivari. The
instrument later came into the possession of the American industrialist and collector Raymond
Pitcairn. As a highly successful businessman in Pittsburgh's emerging manufacturing industries he
purchased two other Stradivari as well as a 1737 Carlo Bergonzi and a Gasparo da Salo of 1570. The
Pitcairn family maintains a legacy of music and connoisseurship. The great niece of Raymond
Pitcairn is violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn and owner of the 1720 Stradivari known as The
Mendelssohn. Purchased at Christie's London sales rooms in 1990, it was at the time the world auction
record for a work by Stradivari.
Leaving the Pitcairn family in 1927, the violin was sold through the Berlin and New York dealer
Emil Herrmann to the collector Albert H. Wallace. A resident of Los Angeles, Wallace was also an
important collector who possessed three other works by Stradivari as well as a Bergonzi and a
Nicolo Amati. In 1945 the violin was sold by Rembert Wurlitzer to Chicago businessman Laddie
Junkune where it remained until 1992 when it came into the possession of the present owner.
Until recently the violin was on loan to violinist Kyoko Takezawa. A prolific recording artist, Ms.
Takezawa is a soloist who resides in New York and used The Hammer Stradivari as her primary
Auction: Fine Musical Instruments May 16 at 10am
Viewing: Christie’s Galleries at Rockefeller Center May 12 - 15
More information about Christie's sales of Musical Instruments can be found on www.christies.com. All lots from
upcoming sales can be viewed online along with full catalogue