US businessman and violin collector Tom Roberts died on 11 June
at the age of 75. At one point his collection included 36
instruments, many of which he loaned to the Smithsonian Institution
in Washington DC, where he lived from 1980.
Among Roberts’s violin collection were two Stradivaris: the ‘Hellier’ and the ‘Parera’, both dated 1679. It also included a Girolamo Amati, once owned by Benito Mussolini; the 1741 ‘Janowitz’ Guarneri ‘del Gesù’; and a c.1671 Andrea Guarneri. Roberts also amassed a collection of rare bows.
Roberts acquired the ‘Hellier’ in 1979 and loaned it to the Sminthsonian Institution in the same year, together with 13 other instruments and 33 bows. He sold the ‘Hellier’ in 1998 to Herbert Axelrod, though it remained in the Smithsonian Museum’s Hall of Musical Instruments.