Biggest ever media bash fails to sell heiress’s unplayed Strad

Biggest ever media bash fails to sell heiress’s unplayed Strad


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2014

Over the past month you could hardly open a mid-market or tabloid newspaper without seeing reports of a ‘priceless’ violin that was found in the Manhattan apartment of the late heiress, Huguette Clark. Ms Clark died in 2011, aged 104, and had not played an instrument in decades. Christie’s, who were selling the instrument, must have spent a fortune on PR and marketing.

The 1731 ‘Kreutzer’ Stradiuvarius was going to sell for something in excess of $10 million.



Except it didn’t.

Didn’t sell at all, because nobody bid the reserve price.

Not worth it, said the serious musicians at whom the campaign should have been aimed.

So back to the drawing board for Christie’s, back to the drawer for the Strad.

And the mass media? Didn’t report a word about the failed sale.

All hype and no news.


  • Peter says:

    What happened to the “Macdonald” ex-Schidlof strad viola with the 45 million dollar price tag ? The publicity machine seems to have gone very quiet on that front too.

  • Badger says:

    The sale for the Macdonald viola isn’t until the 25th…

  • Rosana Martins says:

    In the 1980s and 90s the “Kreutzer” Strad belonged to Uto Ughi. If it is the same instrument, the sound was glorious, but I don’t know about it being worth U$10 million. I subsequently read that he had sold the “Kreutzer” at an auction. Is it the same instrument?