Do you want to know which are the most expensive violins? Well, all listed violins come with their own great stories. These instruments are famous for their amazing resonance, rarity, great value, and of course their unique quality of sound.
- The Titanic Violin (Arthur Catton Lancaster) $1.700.000
This violin was discovered in 2006 in a pretty damaged condition in a British home. After a few years of research it appeared this was the violin used by Wallace Hartley at the Titanic’s very last moments.
- The Lady Tennant (Antonio Stradivari – 1699) $2.032.000
This antique violin was made in 1699 by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, the Italian famous luthier. The violin was actually built 1 year before his so-called ‘golden’ years began. In 2005, this violin was auctioned at Christie’s in New York for the record sum of $2,032,000.
- The Hammer Stradivarius (Antonio Stradivari – 1707) $3.544.000
This violin is named after Swedish collector Christian Hammer who lived in the 19th century and was the instruments’s first recorded owner. The Hammer Stradivarius was auctioned at Christie’s in 2006 for an astonishing $3.544.000 (the bidder was anonymous). The estimated value before the auction was in the $1.5-2.5 million range.
- The Molitor Stradivarius (Antonio Stradivari – 1697) $3.600.000
This violin was owned by Juliette Récamier, a 19th century arts patron from Paris, though many people thought it was in the possession of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1804, the violin was acquired by Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor, a high-placed general in Napoleon’s forces. The violin has a label that states that it was built in 1697.
- Il Cannone Guarnerius (Guarneri Del Gesu – 1743) $4.000.000
Niccolò Paganini, the famed violin virtuoso from Italy (1782–1840) gave this violin received its name ‘Il Cannone’ because of the instrument’s resonance and power. The violin is also referred to as ‘Il Cannone del Gesu’ or ‘Canon from Paganini’.
- The Lord Wilton (Guarneri Del Gesu – 1742) $6.000.000
The Lord Wilton violin was built in 1742 in Cremona. Italy. Famous violin player Yehudi Menuhin owned the instrument in the period 1978-1999, but after he died in 1999, collector David Fulton bought the violin for a record-breaking $6 million. At that time, this was the highest price that was ever paid for a violin.
- The Mary Portman (Guarneri Del Gesu – 1735) $10.000.000
This violin got its name, (‘Mary Portman’ Guarneri del Gesu violin) from an aristocratic lady from London, Mary Isabel Portman, who became famous for building the Kranzbach Castle.
- The Kochanski Guarneri (Guarneri Del Gesu – 1741) $10.000.000
famous American violinst Aaron Rosand played the Kochanski del Gesù violin (named after its earlier owner Paul Kochanski) for almost 40 years. In 2009, Rosand sold the violin for $10 million to a Russian collector, and the Curtis Institute of Music received $1.5 million from Rosand as a donation. The violin is in an absolutely stunning state of preservation and has fantastic deep red varnish.
- The Carrodus Guarneri (Guarneri Del Gesu – 1743) $10.000.000
This violin, the Carrodus Guarneri crafted in 1741, is among the finest instruments built by Guarneri, the famed Italian violin maker. The Carrodus Guarneri is actually crafted from the same tree as Il Cannone, another famous violin by Guarnerius.
- The Lady Blunt (Antonio Stradivari – 1721) $15.900.000
The Lady Blunt violin received its name because of the first known owner (Lady Anne Blunt), Lord Byron’s granddaughter. This violin is actually one of the best preserved violins crafted by Stradivarius. The world-famous violin is in pristine and near-original condition (just like the 1716 Messiah Stradivarius) because it was played very little and owned by collectors most of the time.
- The Vieuxtemps Guarneri (Guarneri Del Gesu – 1741) $16.000.000
Henri Vieuxtemps, a 19th-century violinist from Belgium, owned the violin that was given his name. The Vieuxtemps Guarneri violin was later played by Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, and Yehudi Menuhin. The instrument was recently acquired by an anonymous buyer for a record-braking $16 million. The violin is loaned for her lifetime to famous violinist Anne Akiko Meyers.
- The Messiah Stradivarius (Antonio Stradivari – 1716) $20.000.000
This unique instrument is the only Stradivarius violin in absolutely new state. It is owned by an English museum in Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum, and some of the reasons the instrument is so prestigious and highly valued lies in the fact that it was crafted in the ‘golden period’ of Stradivari and that was never played in the 300 years it’s been around.