As you might know, high-quality violins do not come cheap. In an attempt to satisfy your curiosity on this topic, we have written an article about some of the most expensive violins that have been sold up to this date. So, keep reading to find out!
The Titanic Violin
We are all familiar with the tragic history of the Titanic. However, this violin’s story is even more dramatic. The instrument was manufactured by Arthur Catton Lancaster, and it was used by the famous bandleader Wallace Hartley to play “Nearer, My God, to Thee” as the ship was actually sinking.
On top of that, it seems like this violin was an engagement present that Hartley had received from his fiancée, Maria. Although the current owner of this piece memorabilia is not known, he/she paid no less than $1.7 million on it in 2013, at the time of the auction.
The Lady Tennant
Stradivari violins are not cheap. The Lady Tennant is an instrument created in 1699 by the famous instrument maker and it is regarded as one of the few violins that pre-date his golden-period of creation.
Previous owners of the violin were Charles Philippe Lafont, a renowned French composer and Charles Clow Tennant, a politician that presented it as a gift to his wife, Marguerite, an amateur violinist.
In 2005, this model was auctioned for 2.032.000 dollars. This instrument was played on by Yang Liu, Xiang Gao, and Yossif Ivanov.
The Hammer Stradivarius
Another expensive antique violin made by Antonius Stradivarius is the Hammer, an instrument that was manufactured in 1707. The violin was named after Christian Hammer, a 19th-century Swedish collector that was officially recorded as its first owner.
The Hammer Stradivarius was transported to America in 1911, and it was acquired by a Japanese oil company in 1992. The violin was given on loan to Kyoko Takezawa, a violinist that played on it for 12 years.
What is more, this instrument made news in 2006 when it was sold at an auction for US$3.54 million. It had a pre-auction estimated value of 1.5 to 2.5 million US dollars. This model was played on by Kyoko Takezawa.
The Molitor Stradivarius
This model is currently owned by concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, and it was made by Stradivarius in 1697. What makes it so unique is that it is believed to have been owned by Napoleon Bonaparte. The instrument was previously owned by Juliette Récamier, a Parisian socialite and then by count Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor.
The Molitor Stradivarius remained in the count’s family until WWI, when it was sold by several Parisian firms. Another well-known owner of the violin was William Anderson of Derry, who purchased it in 1957. He is said to have kept it under his bed until his death in 1988. Afterward, the instrument was offered as a donation to the Red Cross.
The Molitor was owned by Elmar Oliveira, an American violinist and by Albert I. Stern. The current owner, Anne Akiko Meyers, purchased it in 2010 for the sum of $3.6 million, at the time, the highest price ever paid for a musical instrument.
Il Cannone Guarnerius
This violin was fabricated in 1743 by another Italian luthier, Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri of Cremona. This instrument was used by Niccolò Paganini, a violin virtuoso from the 19th century. Il Cannone is the violin that Paganini played on in his final years. Before his death, he willed it to the city of Genoa, in Italy.
The model is exhibited in the Genoa town hall, and it was ensured for 4 million dollars. However, it is said to be at least four times as expensive. Il Cannone Guarnerius is played annually by the winner of the Premio Paganini, an international violin competition.
It was played on by Eugene Fodor, Shlomo Mintz, Regina Carter and it is highly appreciated for its power and extraordinary resonance.
The Lord Wilton
Lord Wilton or the ex-Yehudi Menuhin was created in 1742 by Guarneri, and it was named after the Seymour Egerton, 4th Earl of Wilton, a musician that owned it in the 19th century.
The model was also owned by Yehudi Menuhin from 1978 to 1999. After his death, the instrument was actually sold for $6 million US dollars to David L. Fulton, a private collector.
The Mary Portman
Made in 1735 by Guarneri Del Gesu, this instrument carries the name of Mary Isabel Portman, the builder of “The Kranzbach Castle.”
The violin was played on by Adele Anthony and Fritz Kreisler, and it is currently in the possession of Susanne Hou. The cost of The Mary Portman is settled at $10.000.000.
The Ex-Kochanski Guarneri, 1741, was used by Aaron Rosand for up to 40 years. This choice is particularly appreciated for its excellent condition. As a result, the model is considered to be worth 10.000.000$.
The Carrodus Guarneri was made in 1743 by Guarneri Del Gesu, and it is said to have been made form the same tree as the II Cannone. This unit was made by the violin maker just one year before his death.
The model first belonged to a Viennese player and, in the 19th century, was acquired by David Laurie, a Scottish dealer. The unit was sold multiple times, and it carries the name of an English violinist, John Carrodus, who played on it until his death in 1895.
The violin’s current owner is not known, but the instrument is played on by Richard Tognetti, an Australian violinist. The Carrodus was also performed on by Ossy Renardy and by Paganini.
The Vieuxtemps Guarneri
The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is the most expensive violin ever sold, as it has an auction price of more than 16,000,000. However, the exact amount that its current owner had to pay was not disclosed.
This model got its name from Henri Vieuxtemps, a 19th-century violinist. The current owner loaned the Vieuxtemps Guarneri to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers for the rest of her life.
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