Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari produced Stradivarius stringed instruments during the late 1600s to early 1700s. He refined the geometry and design of violins that has set the standard ever since. Each instrument was handmade, therefore experts estimate that of the 1,100 stringed instruments Stradivari crafted during his lifetime, only 500 violins survive today. This renders them the most valued and expensive violins. Stradivarius violins rarely go on sale, but this article will tell you what to do if one does become available.
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Keep tabs on reputable auction houses for a Stradivarius to come on the block. Understand the terms and conditions of each auction house, including the cost of the buyer's premium. This information is usually available in the catalog. Attend the free auction viewing to examine the violin.
Designate a value for the violin. Any violins made during the 1680s fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. Stradivarius violins produced between 1700 and 1720, considered the "golden period," may be priced at over one million dollars. The highest dollar amount ever paid for a Stradivarius was 3.5 million dollars in 2006 for a 1707 violin called the Hammer.
Arrive at the auction house 30 minutes before the auction to register as a bidder and collect your paddle. Bring photo identification.
Place an absentee bid if you cannot attend the auction in person. Submit a written, telephone or online bid at least 24 hours before the auction.
Get an expert to certify the authenticity of a Stradivarius violin from a private dealer. False "Stradivarius" labels were commonly used by impostors.
Tips and warnings
- Many violins are named for the musicians who played them or the owners who bought them. This fact can increase the value of an individual piece.
- Owners prize their Stradivarius violins so highly that few are ever sold.
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