A Stradivarius known as the “Lady Blunt” is being sold by its owner the Nippon Music Foundation in Japan to raise funds for the tsunami and earthquake relief effort.

The 1721 violin, said to be the best-preserved example of the famed instrument maker’s work, fetches a record price every time it is sold. On June 20 it will go under the virtual hammer with instrument specialist auction house  Tarisio.com, who last year sold the “Molitor” Stradivarius to Japanese-American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers for USD $3,600,000.

The Lady Blunt made headlines forty years ago when it sold for a then-record-breaking $200,000. Its value has continued to skyrocket and it was purchased by the Nippon Music Foundation in 2008 for more than $10,000,000. Its namesake is onetime owner Lady Anne Blunt (1837-1917), grand-daughter of Lord Byron and an accomplished amateur violinist.

The charitable foundation has several valuable instruments in its collection – of which the Lady Blunt is the crown jewel – but this is the first time it has ever sold one, though it loans them free of charge to musicians of international renown.

All proceeds from the sale have been pledged to the Nippon...