According to Christie's, the 1707 violin, which dates from violinmaker Antonio Stradivari's "golden period," is "in a wonderful state of preservation."
Christie's estimates the price of the violin at $1.5 to $2.5 million. Another Stradivarius, "The Lady Tennant," sold at Christie's in April 2005 for $2.032 million, a record price for a musical instrument.
"The Hammer" is named for the Swedish collector Christian Hammer, who owned it in the 19th century. It has spent much of the last century in the United States, where its owners have included violinist and collector Bernard Sinsheimer, industrialist Raymond Pitcairn, collector Albert H. Wallace, and businessman Laddie Junkune, who owned it from 1945 to 1992.
Recently, the violin has been on loan to violinist Kyoko Takezawa. The current owner has remained anonymous.
"The Hammer" will be on view at Christie's gallery at Rockefeller Center in New York from May 12 to 15 before it is sold with other instruments on May 16 at 10 a.m.