An historic Stradivari viola, which carried a record price tag of $45 million (£28.13 million), has failed to sell at auction.

The 300-year-old MACdonald, originally varnished by celebrated Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari himself, was expected to make history at a Sotheby's New York sale, but it struggled to attract buyers at the sky high fee and went unsold on Wednesday (25Jun14), when the month-long auction came to an end.

The string instrument is believed to be just one of 10 complete surviving Stradivari instruments in existence.

It was being sold by the family of the late Peter Schidlof, a co-founder of the famed Amadeus Quartet, who obtained it in 1964 at a cost of $81,000 (£50,625).

The current auction record for a musical instrument was set in 2011 when the Lady Blunt Stradivari violin was sold online for $15.9 million (£9.94 million).