Label: "Jo: Bap: Guadagnini Cremonem: fecit Taurini directione D.I.A. Cotii Typus Antonii Stradivari 177-" with a double-barred cross over the maker's monogram
Back: Two-piece showing medium flames descending slightly from the joint
Ribs: with broader flames
Front: of spruce of medium grain at the center, wider at the flanks
Varnish: Golden red-brown
Body Length: 35.3 cm.
Upper Bout: 16.7 cm.
Center Bout: 10.7 cm.
Lower Bout: 20.3 cm.


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Iconography Index

"Cover", The Strad, August, 1971, 1971: Black-and-white photos (front & back).

"Ted Marchetti advertisement", The Strad, May, 1977, 1977: Black-and-white photos (front & back).

"The 'Salabue' Guadagnini", The Strad, April, 1970, 1970: Black-and-white photos (front, back & side).

Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Duane Rosengard, Carteggio Media, Haddonfield, NJ, 2000: Color photos (front, back, scroll & f-hole).

Rare Old Violins, Violas & Violonceollos (1916), Lyon & Healy, Chicago, 1916: Color illustrations (front & back - dated c1770).


"In yet another post Sept. 11 related incident, violinist Lara St. John was wrestled to the ground by an armed guard at New York's La Guardia airport when she tried to stop him from inspecting her instrument. The incident was quickly resolved and the violinist dismissed it as a misunderstanding.

St. John, a rising young virtuoso in classical music, reportedly lunged at the guard when he attempted to touch her $1 million Guadagnini violin with a cloth. The violinist said later that she thought the cloth might contain chemicals that would do harm to the instrument's finish. She reportedly cried out,
"No! No! It's an antique!"

St. John's violin dates from 1779 and was made by the Italian master in Turin. The violin is on loan to St. John from an anonymous donor. She says she prefers it to the 1702 Lyall Stradivarius which she previously played.
"This violin, hailed by many as the world's greatest Guadagnini, has an interesting background, at least that which we know, from the 20th century onwards. Apparently a loving father bought it back in the 20s or 30s for his young violinist son, in California. This boy was doing very well - he studied with Zimbalist, and at the age of 16 played a concerto at the Hollywood Bowl. At the age of 17, he contracted tuberculosis and died that year. His father was heartbroken, so much so that he entombed the Guadagnini and some bows along with his son. (the details are a bit sketchy, but I have to assume that he had a mausoleum erected for him).

This was the case for about fifty years, until finally the violin came back to light again. I am not sure if the father passed away, or if he decided it should be played again, or what, but apparently it was sold to an amateur for a while in the 80s.

Finally, it started making the rounds of various luthiers, some of whom were rather spooked by the story. A few years ago it came up for auction and was bought by an anonymous donor who has now lent it to St. John.
This instrument was apparently made especially for Count Cozio di Salabue sometime after 1780, though the label is dated 1770. It was among the Count's collection of about fifty Guadagnini violins that were found when the count died in 1840.
"The 'Salabue' Guadagnini", The Strad, April, 1970, 1970.


Owner Owned From Owned In Owned Till Price paid
Harold A. Parker (San Francisco)  1985       
Theodore Marchetti (Columbus, Ohio)    1977     
Theodore Marchetti (Columbus, Ohio)    1970     
Ernö Neufeld   1950       
Roy Gronsky (Westwood, California)         
Chapman (Long Beach, California)         
Lyon & Healy    1916     
Caressa & Francais (Paris)         
Greims  1902       
Silvestre & Maucotel (Paris)      1902   
Alfredo Carlo Piatti          
Count Cozio di Salabue         

Current owner Current owner
Indicates that the owner is or was also a musician Indicates that the owner is or was also a musician


Name Played From Played In Played To
Lara St. John     2002   

Current player Current player
Indicates that the musician is or was also an owner of one or more instruments. Indicates that the musician is or was also an owner of one or more instruments


Certificate: Caressa & Francais, Paris, 1916

Certificate: Silvestre & Maucotel, Paris, 1902. Mentions that the instrument was formerly owned by both Count Cozio de Salabue and Alfredo Piatti.


Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, Duane Rosengard, Carteggio Media, Haddonfield, NJ, 2000.

Rare Old Violins, Violas & Violonceollos (1916), Lyon & Healy, Chicago, 1916.

The Guadagnini Family of Violin Makers, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago, 1949.

"Cover", The Strad, August, 1971, 1971.

"'Salabue' Guadagnini", The Strad, October, 1985, 1985.

"Ted Marchetti advertisement", The Strad, May, 1977, 1977.

"The Guadagnini Family", Ernest N. Doring, Violins & Violinists, November, 1950, 1950.

"The 'Salabue' Guadagnini", The Strad, April, 1970, 1970.