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Wizard of Oz
Photograph: Shutterstock/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

A 308-year-old violin played on ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is about to sell for $20m

The strings from ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ are going under the hammer

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

A historic violin played on the score for The Wizard of Oz is expected to break records when it goes to auction next month. Classic FM reports that the 308-year-old Stradivarius will fetch in excess of $20 million – or £14 million – when it goes under the hammer on June 9. 

‘There has not been a violin like this at auction for decades,’ says Carlos Tome, director of the specialist auction house, Tarisio, that will be selling the historic instrument.

Known as the ‘da Vinci’ Stradivarius, it’s the first of its kind to be auctioned in decades. The violin has a storied past over those three centuries, but the warm tones it lent to some of Hollywood’s most iconic movies gives it Hollywood glamour too. At the time, it was owned by Toscha Seidel, a Russian musician who played it on the scores for The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Wizard of Oz.

‘The expectation for this violin is around £14m million but it could go for even higher,’ Tome says. ‘It has all the best ingredients for a collector and an investor. It was made by the greatest violin maker in the world during his Golden Period. Its attachment to The Wizard of Oz also brings with it a romanticism which is attractive to so many people.’

And if $20 million sounds a bit of a stretch for a stringed instrument, keep an eye out for the next time one of George Formby’s eukeles pops up under auction. The last one went for a very reasonable £28,000 in 2017.

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