How to sell your violin and keep it

We reported yesterday that the violinist Arve Tellefsen had become the top taxpayer in Norway after selling his Guarnerius to a German investor.

But the story gets more interesting by the day.

We know that Arve bought his 1739 Guarneri ‘Del Gesù’ in 1970 for a million krone (NOK) and sold it for 80 times the amount, which is pretty good going.

But the sweetener is he gets to keep the violin, and keep on playing it, so long as he’s alive, after which it heads to Germany.

Good deal.


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  • Top taxpayer in the entertainment sector. I would guess that even in a “socialist hell hole” like Norway, there are industrialists and maybe even athletes who are worth more.

  • It is a very sensible arrangement. Tellefsen, who has had a very respectable career as a soloist, teacher and as concert master of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra )1977-1981), is still an active musician and administrator, but is 81 years old. His very valuable instrument will of itself be of little use for his family, so he now realizes the value of the instrument. He is quoted in the Norwegian press as wanting to use the proceeds to fund young Norwegian musicians. The buyer will lend the violin to other musicians after Tellefsen dies,

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