According to the renowned French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (1798–1875), Stradivari manufactured two cellos in the year 1697, one of large dimensions, which is described here, and the other of regular size, which is sometimes referred to as ‘Fau’. Both instruments have survived in their original sizes, and were part of the collection belonging to Count Cesare Castelbarco of Milan, Italy. There has always been a certain confusion regarding the production date of both instruments. In the two editions of their book, the Hill Brothers described a ‘violoncello dated 1697 owned by the Marquis de Piccolellis, which was originally in the Castelbarco Collection.’, and a few pages later listed the second cello as: ‘M. Fau, ex Castelbarco, falsely dated 1697, approximately 1707–10.’ Nevertheless, at the end of the book, they added that when the count’s collection went on sale: ‘two violoncellos, dated respectively 1687 and 1697, were sold for £115 and £210.’ Apparently, the Castelbarco cello was the one to realise ‘200 guineas’, as reported by William Henley. These days, the generally accepted dates for the cellos are 1697 in the case of the Castelbarco, and c.1707–10 for the ‘Fau’.
More information: Antonio Stradivari Set 1, Volume 1, Page 314