An 18th-century Italian violin made by Joseph Guarneri del Gesu was sold in London for more than $1 million, an auction record for any violin, the auctioneers Sotheby's said.

An unidentified buyer purchased the instrument for $1,059,344 Wednesday from the estate of the late president of the Swallow Airplane Co., Sam Bloomfield of Wichita, Kan.The violin is known as the Baron Heath, after an Italian consul-general in London, Baron John Benjamin Heath, who owned it just over a century ago.

It was made in 1743 by Guarneri, who worked in Cremona and is considered by some violinists to be at least the equal of his more famous fellow countryman, Antonio Stradivari, who died in 1737.

The previous violin auction record was 473,000 pounds (then $889,000) for a 1709 Stradivarius known as the Marie Hall, sold in London on March 31.