The violin is one of the most popular musical instruments that can be found in the modern world. Moreover, it has been in existence for centuries and centuries, thus making it no coincidence that examples with either artistic, historical, or some other kind of significance can fetch huge sums when put up for auction. Here are five of the most expensive violins that have ever been sold:
5. Kochanski del Gesù – $10 Million
The Kochanski del Gesù is one of the three violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri on this list. In short, said individual was an Italian luthier from the 18th century with a towering reputation in the present time, so much so that the surviving examples of his craftsmanship are some of the most coveted musical instruments that can be found out there. In the case of this violin, it was once borne by the Polish violinist Paul Kochanski, but it is now in the hands of the American violinist Aaron Rosand.
4. Carrodus Guarneri – $10 Million
Speaking of Guarneri, the Carrodus Guarneri is another excellent example of his craftsmanship. In its case, it has passed through the hands of even more notable owners, with one such individual being the English violinist John Tiplady Carrodus. Besides this, it is interesting to note that this violin is said to have been made using the wood of the same tree as Il Cannone Guarnerius, which is another Guarneri creation of note that has its own interesting story.
3. The Lady Blunt – $15.9 Million
The Lady Blunt is named for Lady Anne Blunt. For those who are unfamiliar, Lady Blunt wasn’t exactly what anyone would call a do-nothing, seeing as how she was the first European woman to cross the desert that can be found on the Arabian Peninsula. However, she tends to be over-shadowed by her much more famous predecessors. One would be her mother Ada Lovelace, a mathematician who is still remembered from being one of the first computer programmers. Another would be her maternal grandfather Lord Byron, who has been immortalized with the famous description “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” In any case, the Lady Blunt is one of the best-preserved examples of Antonio Stradivari’s creations because it has seen very little use but has instead been passed from the hands of one collection to another.
2. The Vieuxtemps Guarneri – $16 Million
At $16 million, the Vieuxtemps Guarneri is the most expensive Guarneri violin that can be found on this list. It is named thus because it was once owned by the Belgian violinist Henry Vieuxtemps. However, its current owner has made an anonymous donation of the use of the violin to the American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, with whom it will remain for the rest of her life. Currently, the Vieuxtemps Guarneri is considered to be the single most expensive violin ever sold in the entire world because it is reported that its sale price was more than $16 million.
1. The Messiah Stradivarius – Estimated $20 Million
Meanwhile, the Messiah Stradivarius has a position on this list because of its estimated value rather than its sale price. However, said value won’t be confirmed or debunked by the market anytime soon for the simple reason that it is being displayed at the Ashmolean Museum in England. As for why it has such a high estimated value, well, there are a couple of reasons. One, the Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari is very, very well-known, so much so that he is the closest person to a household name when it comes to violin makers. Granted, he can’t claim the undisputed number one position because of Guarneri, but that kind of fame nonetheless has a huge impact on the interest in his musical instruments. Two, the Messiah Stradivarius stands out from even other Stradivari creations for the very simple reason that it has never been played in close to three centuries of existence, which provides it with a very unique point of interest to say the least.