What Makes a Stradivarius Violin So Expensive?



You don’t have to be a seasoned violin player to know that there’s one violin that lords over all others. That instrument is none other than the Stradivarius violin, and it is a sight to behold indeed.

Still, many are not convinced that looks and quality craftsmanship are reasons enough to fetch someone a cool $20 million. There have to be other reasons that justify this violin’s multiple-million-dollar price tag. Here, we’ll try to discover and make sense of those reasons.

The Stradivarius Violin

It is arguably the most recognized and most expensive violin in the world by some disparity. Beginners are sure to be impressed upon seeing these instruments, but they probably don’t know they can fetch such astronomic amounts. How does the $2 million to $20 million range sound?

Nevertheless, such a price range could be down to several reasons and not just the possible two we’ve mentioned so far. Let’s take a look at some of these other elements likely to have contributed to this master violin’s imperious value.

The History Behind the Stradivarius Violin

The late 1600s to early 1700s marked a period of prolific production for the Stradivarius violins by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari. Back then, these instruments were created solely for royalty and the gentry, which may have been why no more than a thousand of these were made.

Today, that thousand has dwindled down to an estimated 650, making the Stradivarius a rare specimen. As one would expect, Stradivari produced some of his most remarkable violins as a seasoned violin maker. Thus, Stradivarius violins made earlier in his career may not be as prized as those created later in his life.

For a musician who’s also an investor, owning one of the later-manufactured Stradivarius violins would be an absolute dream. The market trend has seen the prices of these instruments skyrocket since the 1990s

Factors That May Have Contributed to the Stradivarius Violin’s High Price

By all means, go for it if the budget allows. The purchase will likely yield far greater returns than a lot of the world’s stock markets. Then again, you could still be wondering why you have to pay so much (even if you have the money to). Storied narrative aside, this work of art’s high value could be down to the following:


The proof is not only in how Stradivari was a renowned violin maker during his time (arguably, of all time). You will also find evidence of this violin’s quality in the accounts of musicians and famed violin players throughout the centuries.

Over the years, credible sources have proven the superiority of the Stradivarius violin in terms of aesthetic and playing quality. Many believe it has a lot to do with the much cooler climate in which trees used to make these instruments were grown. The colder temperatures of this period contributed to a denser bark that lent to better construction as well as acoustics. 

Supply and Demand

There are only around 650 of these instruments left, and it’s no longer in production. Thus, their prices would understandably be so much higher than the average violin. Basic economics dictates that when the supply for a product is low, its market value soars. You don't need to buy a expensive violin when starting out, you can get the best beginner violins for cheaper. 


The classics never go out of fashion, and Stradivarius violins are no exception. Owning one of these works of art should cement your status among society’s elite.

And, no, it’s not only because you can afford to shell out a couple of millions on a musical instrument. This should have more to do with how the seller was willing to sell to you, given the limited number of these violins in circulation worldwide.

The Condition of the Instrument

Any Stradivarius violin out there is at least three centuries old. For time to barely have made a lick of a difference in these violins’ construction and playing quality speaks of Stradivari’s remarkable craftsmanship. The items that did sustain some damage but are still in one piece remain historical icons.

The Story

Hearing the story behind these violins should make enthusiasts and professionals alike want to own one. It is a great story that many in the music world have heard of. That puts further emphasis on the Stradivarius violin’s exceptional value and rarity. The narrative has even gone as far as to propel the instrument to legendary status. Hence, the legendary price tag. 

The Beauty of Having a Violin

In one way or another, being a violin player links you to the historical and musical treasure that is the Stradivarius Violin. So, if you can’t boast owning one of these astronomically priced musical instruments, at least you can take pride in having a distant relative in your possession. And when you play exceptionally well? That should remove any traces of disappointment from possibly never owning a Stradivarius violin in this lifetime.

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