The ‘Axelrod’ viola is, along with the 1696 ‘Spanish Court’, the only inlaid viola made by Stradivari that has survived the years. The instrument was known at the beginning of the 19th century, but shortly afterwards it ‘disappeared’, only to be rediscovered by the Hill Brothers in 1931. Given a gap of more than a hundred years, it is virtually impossible to precisely reconstruct the chain of ownership of the viola. According to the original label that the instrument still bears, the viola was manufactured in 1695 and, in the opinion of the Hills, the crown that appears on the table beneath the fingerboard was probably drawn by Stradivari to state the noble origins of the man for whom the instrument was crafted.
More information: Antonio Stradivari Set 1, Volume 1, Page 268