Stradivarius with storied past goes on auction

Posted on: May 10, 2022

“A 300-year-old violin, reputed to have been played on the Oscar-winning ‘Wizard of Oz’ score, will go on the auction block next month and could fetch as much as $20 million,” writes Jon Burlingame in last Tuesday’s (5/3) Variety. The rare Stradivarius belonged to Odessa-born Toscha Seidel, widely considered one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century…. Estimates are that the violin could bring between $16 million and $20 million at auction…. Seidel made his American debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1918 and toured the U.S., Europe and Australia throughout the 1920s. He … moved to California in 1938 to pursue more lucrative movie studio work…. As for the beloved Judy Garland film, [experts are] unable to confirm that Seidel was the violin soloist in Herbert Stothart’s Oscar-winning score. It is possible, perhaps even likely, as Seidel is known to have been placed under MGM contract in February 1939 and most of the ‘Oz’ score was recorded in May 1939…. This [violin], crafted in Italy in 1714 and nicknamed ‘da Vinci’ … was acquired by Seidel for $25,000 in 1924.” The Tarisio musical-instrument dealers will exhibit Seidel’s violin internationally before the June 9 auction.