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Most Expensive Musical Instruments

What is 300 years old, made of wood and easily exceeds most mutual funds?

A Stradivarius violin. Or an old guitar or mandolin, for that theme.

A growing group of investors are watching music, as in unusual and expensive instruments, as a wise place to put money. Not only a musical instrument can offer substantial financial returns; It is more functional and more fun than a painting on the wall. You can play your Strad for the content of your heart, or rent it for violinist Joshua Bell. Just do not forget not to drop.

Little changed in the field of the production and traffic of violins since Antonio Stradivari settled in Cremona, Italy, at the end of the 17th century. Dukes and queens coveted the creations of the craftsman at that time; Today, the instruments are sold for extravagant sums for a comparable group of rich fans.

Of the 1,100 violins that Stradivari is believed to have made during his lifetime, only 650 remain. Although there were other famous violin makers in the Stradivari era – such as Guarneri and Amati, whose works now bring large sums of money – the surviving Strads are more numerous, more famous and more expensive.

Even the most successful and celebrated luthier of all time could have been surprised to learn that his violin “Lady Tennant” was sold last year by Christie’s for more than 2.03 million dollars, the highest value ever paid for a musical instrument in a public auction.

In 1998, Christie’s auctioned a very similar Strad (created in 1698, a year before Lady Tennant) for $ 880,000. It can be inferred, then, that certain Strad violins more than doubled in value over this seven-year period, says Kerry Keane, head of the musical instruments department at Christie’s.

In particular, they can go even further: the Stradivari Society, a private organization in Chicago that buys rare violins and lends them to promising young musicians, values some violins of the golden age (post-1700) Stradivari in 6 million dollars each .

It is believed that Stradivari (born in 1644, deceased in 1737) built his best instruments as an older craftsman and consequently more skilled. An earlier period (before 1700) Stradivarius, therefore, can be sold for less.

According to the Stradivari Society, the value of the Stradivari and Guarneri violins has tripled since 1990.

“As institutions and museums have an increasing share of large violins, competition intensifies for the remaining instruments when they become available, and the continuous increases in violin prices of the current decade dramatically reflect that fact,” say Bein and Fushi.

What gives that particular violin its incomparable appeal? Some scientists suggested that Stradivari used alpine fir that had grown during a time of unusual cold weather. This may have turned the wood abnormally dense and contributed to the brilliant sound quality of its instruments. Others insist that no instrument maker has ever worked more.