Priceless Spanish royal cello broken: official

Priceless Spanish royal cello broken: official

MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Priceless Spanish royal cello broken: official

AP Photo

A priceless 17th-century Stradivarius cello got broken while being handled by experts in Spain's royal palace, an official said today.

The cello is one of five antique instruments by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari, renowned for the exquisite sound of his instruments, that were acquired by king Felipe V who ruled Spain at the turn of the 18th century.

"The cello suffered an accident on April 13" that caused its neck to break while experts were examining it, an official in the national heritage section of the royal palace told AFP.

The official declined to give further details or put a value on the cello. El Mundo newspaper cited experts estimating its worth at up to 22 million euros ($29 million).

El Mundo cited an unnamed heritage source saying that experts had set the cello on its side padded with foam so they could photograph it but it tipped forward and knocked against a table, breaking its neck from the body.

The newspaper said the heritage section had ordered those present to keep quiet about the accident but word got around among the luthier community. The heritage official declined to comment on the El Mundo report.

"The instrument can be easily repaired," the official said, adding that the neck of the instrument was a not an original part of the instrument but had been replaced.

"These things happen, and unfortunately it happened to us this time. It is in good hands and we will all still be able to enjoy the music of this cello."