A violin by Antonio Stradivari

Cremona, 1708

labelled Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1708 AS

length of back 35.8cm.

The ‘Havemeyer’ has an interesting history, having been sold by many of the biggest violin dealerships in the world including: George Hart, J & A Beare, William Lewis & Son, The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, Florian Leonhard, and Sotheby’s.

The violin’s earliest known owner is Hector Havemeyer, from whom it received its name. Hector was the son of William Frederick Havemeyer, three-time mayor of New York City, and was one of 10 children. Born in 1940, Hector was the president of the Havemeyer Sugar Refining Company and bought the violin aged 45 but died just four years later, in 1889, leaving over USD 500,000 to various charities and family members.

Excerpt from Hector Havemeyer's Notice of death in the New York Times
Excerpt from the New York Times' report of The Will and Testament of Hector Havemeyer

It is unclear what was done with the ‘Havemeyer’ after Hector’s death, but it was bought by Mr & Mrs Lyall in 1910. The Lyall’s subsequently sold the violin to J & A Beare, who exported it to America in 1946. There the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company sold it to a private collection and, around 1949, it was bought by Paul Bernard, formerly the second violinist of the Musical Arts String Quartet. Bernard owned the violin until his death, at which point it was passed to Anne B. Pfeiffer, who sold it in 1999 to the violin makers William Moennig & Son.

The ‘Havemeyer’ was sold privately by Sotheby’s in 2005 and remains in private ownership.

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