16 Most Expensive Violins in the World

The world’s first vegan violin was made recently with people across the globe wondering if there are more vegan musical instruments.

Ever wondered what violins are made of? For those who enjoy the ambience of listening to the strings of violin saturating the air to the story of the theft of the most expensive violin in a propulsive novel ” The Violin Conspiracy” nobody really cares about how violins are made.

During the coronavirus lockdown, Padraig O’Dubhlaiodh made the first violin free of any animal product. From his Malvern Hills workshop, his vegan violin is now the first in the world to be registered with the Vegan Society’s trademark.

Will this vegan violin make it to the expensive violins list? Well, it is already selling for $10, 000 at the moment. Although it may become one of the most priced violins across the globe, it may never become the most expensive violin in the world.

This article explores the story and history of the most expensive violins in the world. The table of contents below highlights the order in which they were discussed.

What is the Rarest Violin?

The rarest violin in the world is the Stradivarius original “The Messiah.” This collector piece is in pristine condition and has never been played.

The top of the rarest violin in the world is made from wood gotten from the same tree as P.G. Rogeri violin of 1710. Upon its sale in 1737, The Messiah had remained in the Stradivari workshop.

It was bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in the second half of the 20th century.

What brand of violin is the most expensive?

Vieuxtemps Guarneri Violin has beaten The Messiah to become the most expensive violin ever sold in the world. After it was purchased anonymously for an estimated $16 million, it was donated to Anne Akiko Meyers on loan for the rest of her life.

On the other hand, the Messiah Stradivarius is also considered the most expensive violin brand. It is currently worth $20 million.

This expensive vintage violin was crafted by Antoine Stradivarius in 1776.

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What Makes Violins Expensive?

If you love musical instruments you will sure be wondering why some violins are very expensive.

Basically, the older the wood, the better the sound. So, violins that are made with woods that are 20 years and above before their creation tend to be more expensive.

Some luthiers save special collection of wood for a number of years before they begin to build a violin. Just the age of the wood can drive up the price of the wood.

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Another factor that may drive the price of violins up is quality craftmanship. Violins that are crafted by a single luthier with a superior quality tend to cost more.

Also, the value of violins appreciates over time unlike other items which depreciates over time. This means violins that age well may be more expensive that they ones that were newly created.

In fact, most expensive violins ever sold are usually antiques from the best craftmans made from very old woods.

16 Most Expensive Violins in the World

The price of these violins on our most expensive violins list is quite mind-boggling. However, lovers of music and exclusivity can go all the way out from acquiring vintage violins to satisfying their luxury desires.

Generally, violins that are at least 100 years old has had time to age in a way that they sing. They are usually called the $10, 000, 000 violin while those of lesser years are termed $1, 000.

In compiling an expensive violins list, the prices of these violins are put into consideration.

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#16. The Titanic Violin

Price: $1.7 Million

This expensive violin was made by Arthur Catton Lancaster. It was found in the attic of a home in Britain damaged in 2006.

After tracing the history for two years, it was apparent this violin was used by bandleader Wallace Hartley to play “Nearer my God to Thee” classical music. It is presumed he used this violin to play during Titanic’s last moments.

#15. Lady Tenant

Price: $2.032 Million

Played by ULF Hoelscher, Xiang Gao, Yang Liu and Charles Philippe L’Afont, This expensive violin is presently owned by Yossif Ivanov.

Lady Tenant is an expensive vintage violin that was made by Italian Luthier Antonio Stradivari in 1699.

This violin was made a year before his ‘golden’ period. It was sold for a record of $2, 032, 000 at Christie’s auction in New York on April 22, 2005.

#14. Ex-Ries Stradivari 

Price: $3.5 Million

This is one of the most expensive violins to ever exist. It was crafted by Antoni Stradivarius in 1693 in his Marlyn Hill workshop.

In 2008, it was awarded to Hungarian violinist Joszef Lendvay although Reinhold Wurt Music Foundation had rights to own the instrument before then.

#13. The Hammer Stradivarius

Price: $3.544 Million

In 1707, Antonio Stradivari made this expensive vintage violin. Interestingly, it is named after Christian Hammer who is a 19th-century Swedish collector.

Christian became the first record owner of this violin. And, in 2006, the violin was sold by an anonymous bidder for $3.5 million. No one thought it could dell for that price as its estimated value was $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Some notable players like Bernard Sinsheimer, Kyozo Takezawa had the opportunity to play this violin. Unfortunately, it current owner is not known at the moment.

#12. Molito Stradivarius

Price: $3.6 Million

This is another expensive violin from the stables of Antonio Stradivari. It was made in 1697 and was played by notable players like Elmar Oliveira and Albert Stern. Ane Akiki Meyers is the current owner of this piece of musical instrument.

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It was first owned by the Parisian socialite and arts patron Juliette Recamier. In 1804, it came into the possession of Count Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor.

At the lower rib, it is branded “Curtis Phila” and bears the label ” Antonius Stradivarius Cremonesis/ Faciebat Anno 1697″.

#11. II Cannone Guarnerius

Price: $4 Million

This is one of the most expensive violins crafted by Guarneri del Gesu. This violin was known for its resonance and power.

Its name Cannone Guarnerius was given to it by a famed violinist Niccolo Paganini. The violin was purposely designed to have a curved neck and a slightly shorter and thicker soundbox.

Eugene Fodor, Shlomo Mintz and Regina Carter are some notable violinists who had the opportunity to play this violin. Currently, it is in Palazzo Doria Tursi in Genoa, Italy on exhibit.

#10. Ex-Szigeti Stradivari

Price: $6 Million

Stradivarius made this violin in 1724 with an inscription ” Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis facibat Anno 1724″.

This is one of the most expensive violin brands known for its finesse and beauty. In 1989, L-Bank Wurttemberg bought the violin after it has made its way across various violinists.

#9. The Lord Wilton

Price: $6 Million

This violin was crafted in 1742 by Stradivarius. This piece of musical instrument was owned and played by the celebrated violinist Yehudi Menuhin from 1978 to 1999.

After his death, Lord Wilton was sold to David Fulton, a well-known collector. It became the highest price paid for a violin to date.

#8. Dolphin Stradivari

Price: $6 Million

Dolphin was owned by George Hart in the 19th century. It was named Dolphin by its then-owner because of its shape, appearance, and colour.

Made in 1714, John Adams, David Laurie, and Jascha Heifetz were some of the violinists who laid hands on this violin.

#7. La Pucelle Stradivari

Price: $6 Million

Also known as The Virgin, this expensive vintage violin was made by Stradivari in 1709. A Parisian luthier, Jean-Baptiste Vuilaume gave it its name. The name was given based on a discovery that the violin has remained untouched since it left Antoine’s workshop in Cremona.

Although Stradivari crafted La Pucelle, Vuilame with a carving of Joan of Arc created its tailpiece. The carved pegs were also made by him. Currently, La Pucelle is owned by David L. Fulton.

#6. The Mary Portman

Price: $10 Million

This is one of the most expensive violins made by Guarneri in 1735. It gets its name from Honourable Mary Isabel Portman, a lady who resides in London.

She is the builder of “the Kranzbach Castle”. Mary Portman violin was played by notable players like Fritz Kreisler, Adele Anthony and Mary Portman. Currently, it is owned by Susanne Hou.

#5. Ex-Koschanski Guarneri

Price: $10 Million

Guarneri del Gesu made this exquisite violin in 1741. It is obviously one of the most expensive violins in the world.

Ex-Koschanski gets its name from its early owner Paul Kochanski. This Polish Violinist owned this finest instrument with a deep red varnish from Guarneri till it went to Aaron Rosand.

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Rosand used this beautiful for almost 40 years and it’s currently in a state of preservation.

#4. Carrodus Guarneri

Price: $10 Million

This is another masterpiece from Carrodus Guarneri. It was crafted in 1743 and got its name from John Carrodus an English violinist.

This expensive violin is known for its excellent craftsmanship and construction. In fact, it was made from the same tree as the II Cannone.

Violinists like Ossy Renardy and Niccolo Paganini are some players who have played this violin.

#3. The Lady Blunt

Price: $15.9 Million

This is obviously one of the most expensive violins ever sold. It was made in 172 by Stradivari and was owned at various times by Richard Bennett, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume and Lady Anne Blunt.

Lady Anne Blunt was its first owner. She was the granddaughter of Lord Bryon. There are two best-preserved Stradivarius violins to ever exist. The Lady Blunt is one of it while The Messiah is the other one.

This violin retains its original pristine condition because most collectors were more interested in keeping it than playing it. Unfortunately, the current owner of this masterpiece is not known.

#2. The Vieuxtemps Guarneri

Price: $16 Million

Made in 1741, The Vieuxtemp is the current record holder. Until its breaking this record-holding feat, The Messiah has been the most expensive violin in the world.

The Vieuxtemp is the most expensive violin in the world. It was first owned by the Belgian 19th-century violinist Henri Vieuxtemps.

Violinists like Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman, and Pinchas Zukerman had the chance to use this most expensive violin in the world. At the moment, the violin is donated to Anne Akiko Meyers on loan for the rest of her life.

#1. The Messiah Stradivarius

Price: $20 Million

Made by Antonio Stradivari in 1716, The Messiah is considered to be the only Stradivarius in existence in a new state. The Messiah is currently in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England.

One of the reasons it is the most expensive violin ever made is that it was made in Antonio’s golden period.

This masterpiece stayed in Antonio’s workshop till 1737 when he died. Also, because most violinists do not play with it as much, it is still in a new condition. Joseph Joachim, Nathan Milstein and Jean-Delphin Alard are some violinists who had the opportunity to play this violin.

Conclusion

Although vegan violins seem to be making the news in recent times, the expensive violin list is filled with non-vegan violins. If you are a lover of good classical music, this piece of informative article will brighten your day.

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