Sotheby's, the London auction house today sold a Carlo Bergonzi violin for over $1m to Moscow's Violin Art Foundation...

Russian arts foundation pays big money for the Bergonzi violin

Sotheby's, the London auction house today sold a Carlo Bergonzi violin for over $1m to Moscow's Violin Art Foundation.

Lot 313 made around 1720 was expected sell for between ?350,000 and ?500,000. In an exciting auction where record bids were made for other violin makers instruments the Bergonzi eventually sold for ?568,000 ($1,005,360). The instrument, which once owned by the virtuoso Italian violinist Nicolo Paganini, was bought by Maxim Viktorov, The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Violin Art Foundation.

Speaking after the sale, Maxim Viktorov said: "The foundation holds the annual Paganini Moscow International Violin Competition and the acquisition of this unique and rare instrument means that the competition winner will be given the rare opportunity to play this extraordinary violin for one year. The Moscow Authorities and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation have always supported the competition and we hope that the violin will remain in Moscow for many years to come. It is a glorious instrument and we are sure that it will bring to Moscow the spirit and energy of Paganini."

Other instruments sold today were a cello by Grancino which was sold for ?209,60 - a record for the maker. Many other fine instruments sold for well above their expected amount including a violin by Andrea Guarneri which was expected to make around ?15,000. The instrument eventually sold for ?38,000 ($84,000).

A violin by John Lott was sold to a UK musician for ?28,000 and a Camilli violin reached a record for the maker by selling for ?84,000.

Commenting on the sale, Tim Ingles, Head of Sotheby's Musical Instruments department, said: "It was very encouraging to see so many musicians buying valuable instruments at auction. We were particularly pleased with the results of the top lot, a violin previously owned by the great 19th-century virtuoso Nicolo Paganini, which far exceeded its top estimate and achieved a world auction record for the maker Carlo Bergonzi. The sale also achieved four world auction records for instrument makers."