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The Ultimate List Of Famous Violins

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?

Most won’t.

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.


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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.

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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.

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Stradivarius Famous Violins

Lady blunt Stradivarius Famous ViolinsThe 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.

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Molitor Stradivarius Famous ViolinsThe 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.

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Hammer Stradivarius Famous ViolinsThe 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.

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Solomon Ex-LambertSolomon 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.

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The Lady TennantThe 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.

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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.

 

Messiah StradivariusThe 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.

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Guarneri Famous Violins

Mary Portman GuarneriMary 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.

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Carrodus GuarneriCarrodus – 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.

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Lord Wilton GuarneriLord 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.

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ex-VieuxtempsEx-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.

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Il Cannone Guarnerill 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.

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12 Responses to “The Ultimate List Of Famous Violins”

  1. Nick says:

    That is quite a list of violins and naturally makes my collection of violins (see http://www.virtuosiviolins.com) pale into comparative insignificance. As an enthusiast, musician and collector of violins I can only aspire to achieve such quality – one can but dream!

    • Violin Music School says:

      Hey Nick. you too have a unique and wide collection of antique violins too. The famius violins on this list, I believe, is something what all music enthusiasts would love to grab hold of one day. They are the rare gems.

  2. Tina says:

    I have a violin made by Giulio Degani 1924 the inscription inside which i can not photograph is as follows Giulio Degani Liutista Premiato con medaglie poro a Europa et America veneliis Fosca 2418 (typed) and then Giulio Degani Feciebat Anno 1924.(hand written) As you can see it is signed on the outside and there also looks to be some sort of signature on the inside. One string is missing & one is broken also there is not string on the bow however the violin its self is in very good condition with no cracks or chips at all, the case is very very shabby & the straps are broken.
    Is there any chance you could give me an approx value.
    Thank you

    • Violin Music School says:

      Hi Tina, thanks for sharing this violin which is nearly a century old. However, I’m afraid I can’t give you any approx value, as I’m not proficient in this area. You may want to try asking an experienced violin collector. What I can commend is that strings broken, or ‘hairless’ bow should not affect the value of the whole violin set much, as these strings and hair can be readily replaced. The value lies in the violin, model, design and materials used. :)

      • Jay says:

        Hey my name is jay and i just had a question. I have 2 a violins with an official stamp thru the inside and it says it was made by Oscar F Hay in 1670 and the other in 1946 do you happen to know if they are worth anything?

  3. […] stage, many would claim many reasons why the violinist can play so well. Is it that he is using a famous and expensive violin? Or exceptional violin strings? Or he’s naturally […]

  4. gerald gray says:

    my dad has a strativarius thats been in the family a couple hundred years it was brought over by his great great grandfather my grandmother promised it to me when i turned of age my father has made no attempt to give me the violin he just retired he has told me it would be mine when he passes-anyway its old looking ive seen it a few times he keeps it locked up in his closet the violin is in good shape for being a few hundred years old has the original case-and a bow with a ruby looking gem mounted on it pretty fancy for something that could easily be proven to be at least 200 tears old but i feel its a little older than that my dad is getting older if someone could hear the story that only he can tell about it i think he holds on to the violin because he knows its worth a whole lot of money but who can he trust for an estimate he doesnt want to blink or let it out of his sight ill probably be just as cautious when its handed down to me.i just wanted to know if you knew anything about any real old strativarius with gems on the bow-and it came fom over seas when my great great great grandfather came over i think from germany-sweden not sure my dad knows.if i could find any clues about why the bow has a ruby looking gem on it well thans for your time

  5. Stephanie L. Kountz says:

    I have an antique violin that’s stamp on inside reads: 1st line: Nicolaus Amatus Cremonen Hieronymj. 2nd line: Fil.ae Antonij Nepoa(or Nepos) Fecit 16. I took it to an antique dealer & appraiser who when I went to pick it up 3 days later would not give any info had found but instead wanted to purchase it from me for $200.00. And wasn’t pleased when took violin & said had to think about it. Any info on this instrument would be GREATLY appreciated!

  6. Mr Ron says:

    I’m curious if any of the famous violins have ever been damaged; by weather, war, accident; been repaired and did the repair impair the sound in any way. Would a “repaired” violin still have the same value as one that is “virgin”?

    • Violin Music School says:

      Hi Mr Ron,
      From what my mentor shared with me, luthiers will try their very best to fix a famous violin that is broken. The repaired violin’s value can be preserved if it can still be played. Otherwise, the violin might be best to use as an exhibit in a museum.

      • Mr Ron says:

        Thank you. Do you know of any famous violins that had been damaged and repaired and have not had their sound quality impaired? It’s hard for me to think a violin that is 350 years old could survive without some sort of repair.

  7. RIGOBERTO says:

    I have a violin made by oscar f hay in 1940 is like one in this list am planing to sell it if yuo like a cant send yuo pictures

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