Instruments Owned by Nippon Music Foundation

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Stradivarius 1725 Violin


  • “Wilhelmj”
  • “Wilhelmj”
  • “Wilhelmj”


The name of this violin derives from its ownership by the acclaimed German violinist August Wilhelmj (1845-1908). The history of this violin dates back to Parisian dealer Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. In 1855, he sold it to a player in Düsseldorf named Bochmühl, from whom the father of Wilhelmj, who was a doctor of law and an amateur violinist, purchased it in 1866 for his son. Among the many fine violins Wilhlemj owned, this Stradivari remained his favorite until 1896, sometime after he had ceased to play in public, when Wilhelmj decided to, as he said, “quit when at my best” and parted with the violin as young as in his early 50’s. In 1896, he sold the violin to his pupil Hugo Kupferschmidt of Cincinnati, who retained possession of it until his death. Subsequently, Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. sold it to J.E. Greiner, an amateur in Baltimore, in 1938 to Mr. Maulsby Kimball and in 1944 to Mr. Thomas L. Fawick, an industrialist, inventor and art collector in the United States. From Mr. Fawick, it was sold to Mr. Henryk Kaston and subsequently to Mr. Jerry Castellone, both in 1969 and then in 1970 to Mr. Geo Gage, who offered it to W. E. Hill & Sons in 1971. The firm sold it to a collector in the Far East, and it had been safely kept in Hong Kong until Nippon Music Foundation purchased the violin in June 2001.


The back is in two pieces of maple, marked by a small, pronounced curl, slanting downwards slightly from the joint. That of the sides is similar, whereas the scroll has a broader curl. The table is in two pieces of spruce marked by varied grain, fine in some areas and open in others. The varnish is a rich red-brown color.


Stradivarius 1725 Violin “Wilhelmj”

March 28, 1972 W. E. Hill & Sons
October 6, 1944 Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., to Mr. Thomas Fawick
June 3, 1921 W. E. Hill & Sons, to Maestro Wurlitzer


Stradivarius 1725 Violin “Wilhelmj”

April 17, 2000 Andrew Hill, Note to Nippon Music Foundation
April 12, 2000 Andrew Hill, Report to Nippon Music Foundation
June 3, 1921 W. M. EBSWORTH Hill, Letter to Mr. Wurlitzer

“Antonio Stradivari His Life of Work” by W. E. Hill (P69)
“Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari: 1644-1737” by H. K. Goodkind (P582, P583)
“How Many Strads?” by Doring (P260)

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