How does one set a price on a genuine Stradivarius instrument? With only 650 in existence today, these immaculate works of art are prized as much for their unique and supreme craftsmanship and sound as they are for their rarity in quantity.
Stradivarius instruments hold the top five prices paid for any musical instrument. The most expensive Stradivarius violins are the ones crafted during what is considered his golden period from 1700 to 1720. These violins are estimated to bid at the starting auction price of millions of dollars.
In 1998, Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov purchased the 1727 Kreutzer for nearly $1.6 million. He owns a total of four Stradivarius violins.
In 1990, the 1720 Red Mendelssohn was sold for $1.7 million. It was purchased by violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn's grandfather, who gave it to her on her 16th birthday.
In April of 2005, the 1699 Lady Tennant was auctioned at Christie's for $2,032,000. Sponsored by the Stradivari Society of Chicago, the Lady Tennant was loaned to violinist Yang Liu and in 2009 it was loaned to Yossif Ivanov.
In April of 2007, the 1729 Soloman ex-Lambert was sold at Christie's for $2.7 million to an anonymous bidder.
According to Christie's auction reports, Antonio Stradivari's 1707 Hammer violin was sold in May 2006 for $3,544,000, achieving a world record for any musical instrument sold at that time.
Most recently however, that record was broken when concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers purchased the 1697 Molitor Stradivarius for a record $3.6 million. The Molitor was previously thought to have been owned by Napoleon Bonaparte.
A Stradivarius instrument is a financial and emotional investment that is only going to rise in value.