Discover the Most Expensive Violins Existing Today

2017-08-12 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ String Instrument News

When you think about expensive things, we typically think of gold, diamonds and other sorts of jewels. But who would have thought that behind the violin’s history, resonance and sound quality is a price higher than gold and silver? Let’s have a look at each one of them. Added to that, are interesting stories that have an artistic and historical significance.

The Titanic Violin

Who would have missed the leader of the string band who played in the Titanic movie? Well, it’s not just a story, it’s true. It was Wallace Hartley and his ensemble who played “Nearer My God to Thee” while the ship is sinking. The violin that he used during that time was created Arthur Catton Lancaster which was later found in an attic in a house in Great Britain in 2006. The violin was easily recognized because of the inscription “for Wallace in the occasion of our engagement – from Maria.” Now it was sold at an auction for $1,700,00.

The Lady Tennant by Antonio Stradivari (1699) 

One of the best creations of Antonio Stradivari which became the instrument of notable musicians such as Yang Liu, Xiang Gao, Ulf Hoelscher, Yossif Ivanov, and Charles Philippe Lafont. The Stradivarius violin always lives up to its reputation. It was at the auction for $2,032,000.

The Hammer Stradivarius (1707)

The name of this Stradivari’s masterpiece didn’t come from a tool used to pound nails but a person by the name Christian Hammer. Hammer was a Swedish collector and the first owner of the violin in the 19th century that is why it’s called “the Hammer.” Hammer later sold the violin for $3.35 million USD to a bidder at Christie’s auction.

The Molitor Stradivarius (1697)

Another unique creation of Stradivarius which came from a military man Count Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor where it got its name. Molitor was a general in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. But many believed that Napoleon Bonaparte himself owned the violin. It was later when they found the violin under the ownership and care of a Parisian socialite and patron of arts, Juliette Récamier in the 19th century that was before Molitor had it in his possession in 1804. Now it is worth 3.6 million dollars in an auction.

Il Cannone Guarnerius

Any violinist would definitely recognize the legendary Italian virtuoso Niccolò Paganini (1782–1840). He is the former owner of Il Cannone Guarnerius in which he himself gave its name. He called it Cannone (meaning cannon) because of its resonance and power. The instruments insurance value reached up to 4 million dollars.

Lord Wilton

The violin is one of the masterpieces of Guarneri Del Gesu created in the city of Cremona in 1742. The famous and celebrated violinist Yehudi Menuhin owned this instrument. He played the instrument from 1978 to 1999. When Menuhin died in 1999, the violin came under the possession of a renowned collector David L. Fulton who bought it for 6 million dollars. That was the highest price sold for an instrument during that time.

The Mary Portman

This violin is one of the remarkable masterpieces of Guarneri Del Gesu created in 1735. The owner which stands by its name is “The Honourable Mary Isabel Portman” a wealthy aristocrat and the builder of Schloss Kranzbach (“The Kranzbach Castle”) in London. The auction price reached up to 10 million dollars.

Ex-Kochanski Guarneri

This work of art Giuseppe Guarneri was named after a Polish composer, arranger, and violinist Paul Kochanski. After Kochanski, Aaron Rosand possessed the violin and made it his most faithful companion for 40 years. The violin is now at auction for 10 million dollars.

Carrodus Guarneri

This violin was one of the finest creations of Giuseppe Guarneri. The violin was named after its one of its owner, John Tiplady Carrodus (1836-1895) a British violinist in the 19th century. What is interesting with this violin is that it has the same wood used with the II Cannone and the other violins made by Guarneri which came from the same tree. The violin is worth 10 million dollars in an auction.

The Lady Blunt

The Lady Blunt is another masterpiece created by Antonio Stradivari 1721. This violin is also one of the two well-preserved violins of Stradivari. The violin’s name came from its first owner Lady Anne Blunt who is Lord Byron’s granddaughter and the daughter of Ada Lovelace. The highest price that this particular violin reached in an auction is $15,900,000.

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri

This violin is one of the famous instruments created by Guarneri del Jesu in, a famous violin maker in 1741. This famous violin became the best companion of famous violinists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman Pinchas Zukerman. Its first owner, where it got its name is a famous Belgian violinist, Henri Vieuxtemps. It holds the record of the world’s most expensive violin, auctioned for 16 million dollars. Today another famous violinist, Anne Akiko Meyers, receives the violin as a lifetime loan from an anonymous owner.

The Messiah Stradivarius 

This was the most famous and very expensive violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1716. The instrument is under the care of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. The reason for its prestige and value is the uniqueness of the instrument as it was created during the “golden period” of Antonio Stradivari. Interestingly, this instrument has never been used or played for 300 years of its existence.