A 300-year-old Stradivari viola is expected to set a new world auction record after going under the hammer with an opening price tag of $45 million (£28.13 million). The Macdonald was made in 1719 and was originally varnished by celebrated Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari himself. The exquisite viola, which is believed to be just one of 10 complete surviving Stradivari instruments in existence, is being sold by the family of the late Peter Schidlof, a co-founder of the famed Amadeus Quartet, who purchased it in 1964. Bidding on the Sotheby's New York sale opened on Wednesday (26Mar14) and will continue until June (14). The current auction record for a musical instrument stands at $15.9 million (£9.94 million), which was set in 2011 with the online sale of the Lady Blunt Stradivari violin.