We always take for granted the piano and guitar lessons we took up when we were kids. Had we known that instruments can cost this much, maybe we could have taken those lessons more seriously. Here are the top 10 most expensive musical instruments in the world.
10. Classical Guitar by Robert Bouchet – $122,500
A guitar from Robert Bouchet is already rare and expensive enough. The famed French guitar maker made only 150 guitars during his lifetime, all of which have turned out to be very expensive and desirable. Julian Bream, a classical musician, used his creations. One particular Bouchet guitar that has attracted a lot of attention is one he made in 1964 in Paris. What made this guitar unique is that it contains not only the signature of Bouchet, but also his address in Paris and the date he built the guitar. It was auctioned off to a world record price for a Bouchet in 2009.
9. Classical Guitar by Antonio de Torres – $157,000
The modern classical guitar has a lot to do with Antonio de Torres. The guitar maker from Spain created this instrument. Up to now, the acoustic guitars being built are still based on the instruments of de Torres. He probably knew that he was on to something big, which was why he started signing his creations in 1871. Ironically, his guitars built before 1871 are the ones that are highly sought after. Christie’s auctioned off an 1864 De Torres classical guitar for $157,000 in 2007.
8. Violin by Giovanni Batista Ceruti – $158,500
Giovanni Batista Ceruti was originally involved with the textile industry. At the relatively late age of 40, however, he decided to finally pursue his passion for music, specifically in building violins. The problem was that it was hard to source good materials for his instrument because his country was constantly in turmoil at that time. Ceruti thus settled for cheap wood, making up for it by his detailed handcrafting and construction of the instrument. True enough, Ceruti violins have stood the test of time. In 2009, a 1794 Ceruti violin was auctioned off to a record price for one of his works.
7. Viola de Gambia by Pieter Rombouts – $212,500
The viola de Gamba is one of the most rare musical instruments in the world. It traces its roots to instruments used in Spain and Morocco during the Renaissance period. The beauty of its sound is such that it was still being used as recently as 1997 in a recording done by several pop music artists. In 2009, the Rombouts viola de Gamba was sold at an auction for $212,500.
6. Violin by Carlo Giuseppe Testore – $218,500
Carlo Giuseppe Testore was a renowned maker of musical instruments from the late 17th century to the early part of the 18th century. He made violas, double bass, violins and cellos. Accomplished classical musicians prefer up to now Testore-made instruments. A violin that Testore created in 1701 in the Italian city of Milan was sold for $218,500 during an auction.
5. Violoncello by Gennaro Gagliano – $362,500
Gennaro Gagliano came from a family that had always been involved in making string instruments. There were some initial debates if Gagliano did create a violoncello in 1765. To prove that the item was genuine, experts went through the process of analyzing the style, design, pattern and materials and ensure that it was consistent with other cellos made in the era. After concluding that the violoncello is indeed a Gagliano creation, the instrument was auctioned off for $362,500 in 2009.
4. Viola by Gasparo Bertolotti da Salo – $542,000
Anything from the 16th century that is still in fine and mint condition would command a high price. So just imagine how much it would cost for something from the era built by a renowned instrument maker who created only 60 such items during his lifetime. That is basically the background story of the viola by famed Italian instrument maker Gasparo Bertolotti da Salo. Anything that he created can actually be sold for a high price because of the quality of his work. One of his violas sold for $542,000 during an auction.
3. OM-45 Deluxe Guitar by C.F. Martin and Company – $554,500
Any musician worth his salt certainly knows of the renowned guitar maker C.F. Martin and Company. The company has been creating guitars in the United States since the 19th century. The company’s guitars are especially popular with country musicians, as it is best known for its acoustic guitars with steel strings. In 1930, the company manufactured the OM-45 Deluxe. Only 15 such pieces were made that year. Roy Rogers, the singing cowboy who gained fame through the Sons of Pioneers, owned one of the 15. The guitar used to be a part of the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum located in the state of Missouri. In 2009, they decided to sell the guitar. It was originally expected to sell for around $250,000, but the OM-45 Deluxe exceeded all estimates and actually sold for more than twice that amount.
2. Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Stratocaster Guitar by Fender – $959,500
The Fender Stratocaster is one of the most favorite instruments by esteemed rock guitar players and musicians. Some of the legendary artists who have used the instrument are Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the legendary Jimi Hendrix. It was also the guitar of choice by the man who the rock world calls Slowhands. Eric Clapton used the “Blackie,” which is actually a composite made from three different Fender Stratocasters built during the 1950’s. What’s more amazing about the story is that the three guitars Clapton bought were purchased at rock bottom prices in Nashville because they were out of fashion at the time. Clapton ended up using the guitar for 15 years. It later sold for a world record price during an auction.
1. The Hammer Violin by Antonio Stradivari – $3,544,000
Antonio Stradivari was known to make the best violins in the world. One of his creations was owned by a 19th century Swedish collector named Christian Hammer. The violin changed hands a few times, with Japanese violinist Kyoko Takezawa managing to use it for 12 years. It was sold at an auction in 2006.