Imagine on your hands is one of the famous violins in the world.
Be it a 200 year-old Guarnerius or a million-dollar Stradivarius.
Would you play it?
For me, I would rather keep it tight and safe, and not touch any of the famous violins given to me…till someone decided to bid for it.
Expensive Famous Violins
Famous violins are famous and expensive for certain reasons.
They were either made by celebrated violin makers in history ( Amati, Stradivari, Guarneri ).
They were owned by famous historical figures.
They were unique and one-of-a-kind.
They were made with specific materials that were only found centuries ago
They have exchanged hands multiples times in auctions and hit world record prices.
Ultimate List of Famous Violins
In this page, you are going to find a list of famous violins that greatly deserved to be ranked among the best and most expensive violins in the world. The list will not be exhaustive, as more famous violins will make the list as time goes by.
If you find that a certain famous violin is not present here, we do welcome you to contact us here, and you will be credited for your contributions to our list.
Stradivarius Famous Violins
The Lady Blunt – US$16 million (2011) ~ Current World Record Holder
The Lady Blunt Stradivarius violin hit the headlines in June 2011, after it was auctioned at a world record price of US$16 million, almost four times the value of the previous world record violins. However, the Lady Blunt Stradivarius was being sold for a major cause – to raise funds for Japan’s relief efforts for the March 11 tsunami and earthquake disaster.
The Molitor – US$3.6 million (2010)
The Molitor Stradivarius held the world record for the highest price a violin is sold in an auction in 2010, with a value of US$3.6 million. The value is slightly higher than its predecessor, the Hammer Stradivarius, which was sold at US$3.544 million in 2006.
The Hammer – US$3.544 million (2006)
The Hammer Stradivarius was an antique violin made during Stradivari‘s golden years between 1700 to 1725. The 1707 Stradivarius was also auctioned at a world-record price in 2006 at Christie’s, at US$3.544 million, to an anonymous bidder.
Solomon Ex-Lambert – US$2.728 million (2007)
Solomon Ex-Lambert is an antique violin made by famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari in 1729. It derives its name from previous owners Seymour Solomon, the co-founder of Vanguard Records and British Violinist Dorothy Mary Murray Lambert.
The Lady Tennant – US$2.032 million (2005)
The Lady Tennant Stradivarius is an antique violin made in 1699 by grandmaster violin maker Stradivari, a year before his ‘golden period’. The three century-old Stradivarius fetched a price of US$2.032 million in a Christie’s auction in 2005, and posted a then-world record price.
The Red Mendelssohn – US$1.7 million (1990)
The Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius was made by famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari in 1720. In 1999, this Strad also inspired the movie “The Red Violin“, which later went on to win the Academy Award for Best Musical Score.
The Messiah – estimated value US$20 million
The Messiah Stradivarius violin on 1716, is one of the most valuable violins among the 600 Strads left in the world today. Much of the high value and prestige is due to the fact that it was made during Stradivari‘s “golden period“, and it is one that has not ever been played, after almost 300 years in existence.
Guarneri Famous Violins
Mary Portman – US$10 million (2009)
The Mary Portman Guarneri Violin gets its name from a lady who resides in London, by the name of the Honourable Mary Isabel Portman, the builder of “The Kranzbach Castle”. Mary was the daughter of a British peer. The violin is supposed to worth US$10 million.
Carrodus – US$10 million (2007)
The Carrodus Guarneri Violin is named after one of its owners, 19th century British violinist John Tiplady Carrodus (1836-1895). The Carrodus Guarneri is described as “one of the finest violins” made by famous violin maker Guarneri . An interesting fact about the “Carrodus” is it was made from the same tree as as other Guarnerius violin known as the II Cannone.
Lord Wilton – US$6 million (1999)
If anyone would ask what is the favorite violin of legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin, it would be the Lord Wilton Guarneri. Lord Wilton, an antique violin made by Guarneri del Gesu in 1742, was one of the most famous violins of Menuhin because of its powerful tone.
Ex-Vieuxtemps – US$3.9 million (2008)
Ex-Vieuxtemps was the artwork of famous violin maker and also the fiercest rival of Stradivarius, Guarneri del Gesu. The violin is one of of his last piece of workmanship before his death in 1744. It is named after Henri Vieuxtemps, a 19th-century Belgian composer, a violin prodigy and a court soloist to Tsar Alexandar II.
ll Cannone – US$4 million (insured value)
The Il Cannone Guarneri violin of 1743 was once a prized asset of famous violinist Niccolo Paganini. The violin got its name Cannone, or its variants, Il Cannone del Gesu, Cannone or Canon from Paganini because of its power and resonance.