Why is a Stradivarius Violin So Expensive


Stradivarius Violin
Photo by iStockphoto.com

Students of the violin don’t have to be seasoned musicians to know that in the violin world there is a name that rises above all others.


The Stradivarius Violin is perhaps the best known (and most expensive) of all violins. But what many musicians and the general public don’t know is why these rare and old violins fetch such high price tags – in one case a Stradivarius sold for more than two million dollars. To answer that question, it’s necessary to point out that there isn’t just one explanation but rather several factors that contribute to the value of these special instruments.

The Background

The Stradivarius violins were crafted in the late 1600s and early 1700s by Antonio Stradivari, from his shop in Cremona, Italy. Back then, the violins were made for royalty and gentry, and it is believed that Stradivari made a little more than 1,000 of the instruments. Unfortunately, time has claimed a number of these rare instruments, so today there are approximately 650 remaining.

Stradivari crafted the famous violins in the later years of his life, as an experience violin maker. Thusly, earlier Stradivarius violins may not be as valuable as those he made later in his career.

For investors, owning a Stradivarius would probably yield greater returns than any of the world’s stock markets in recent years. Experts say the value of many of the violins has tripled since 1990.

But why pay so much (even if you can afford it) for such an instrument? Here’s what those in the violin world have to say about why the Stradivarius violin is so expensive.

Supply and Demand: One reason the value of a Stradivarius violin is so dear is because there are so few of them left, and they are no longer being made. Simple economics dictates that when there is a demand but little supply, value increases.

The Quality: Musicians have long believed that the Stradivarius violin is superior to other violins in quality and sound. It’s believed that cooler temperatures from the 1200s to the mid 1800s contributed to a denser tree bark, making the wood that was used in constructing the Stradivarius of a higher quality and offering a better acoustic.

They’re Fashionable: Owning a Stradivarius violin is a status symbol in the world of music, thus increasing it’s legend, value and price.

The Condition and History of the Instrument: Any Stradivarius in existence is at least 300 years old, making it an historical icon as well as an instrument. If the instrument is also in excellent condition, the value increases.

The Story: Let’s face it, the story of the Stradivarius violin is a great one, and continues today. Anyone in the music world knows about the famous violins, their craftsman, and their great value and rarity. These factors also contribute to making the Stradivarius a legend in the world of violinist, and their ownership something few can afford.