What is my violin worth?

STRADIVARI portrait by Alton s. Tobey, 1971

The king of all violin makers, Antonio Stradavarius in a portrait by Alton Tobey

Is your violin a Strad?


Could that violin you’ve been storing in the closet be a Strad worth millions?

There are literally millions of violins in existence that bear the label Antonius Stradivarius; they’re almost all copies of the classic “Strad” model made famous by the master from Cremona, Italy. Antonio Stradivari handcrafted about 700 instruments during his lifetime. All but 100 are accounted for.

Even though your instrument may not be a real Strad, it still may have considerable value. Strad copies range from junk level factory made instruments to very fine handmade violins worth thousands of dollars. The maker, construction and condition of your instrument all go into determining its value.

The best way to determine the value of a violin is to get an appraisal from a violin shop (luthier.) He or she will be able to determine the authenticity of your instrument, the cost of needed repairs and an approximate market value. A more formal written appraisal might be warranted if you own a fine instrument. You should expect to pay a fee for such an appraisal.

The greatest value your violin might hold is the joy it can bring you when you play it. Fix it up; get some lessons and make some music!

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Melanie - December 2, 2012

Can you tell me what my violin is worth?
My violin is called a Gand & Bernardel. It was made in France in 1891. The 1 is a French 1 which looks like the number 7. It’s an original, not a copy.
The condition is in fine condition. It’s been restored once but is still considered fine because the restoration was minor and done by an accredited expert luthier.

    Bill Alpert - February 11, 2013

    Melanie: you should check with your luthier/restorer regarding the value of the instrument. That would be my first stop, as they’re most familiar with your instrument and its condition. Another option is to subscribe to an online service such as http://www.tarisio.com. They’ll have records of instruments similar to yours. Good luck!

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