Why a Guarneri violin is expected to fetch $10 million at auction –

A rare violin is expected to fetch $10 million or more at auction in mid-March as demand from collectors increases and tight supplies keep prices high for some instruments.

The instrument was made in 1731 by Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù”, who is considered one of the best violin makers of all time. The other is a name more familiar to classical music listeners: Antonio Stradivari. The two worked around the same time, in the same town in Italy – Cremona.

The prices of Stradivari and Guarneri violins have risen dramatically in recent years as more and more wealthy collectors have become interested in them.

“Especially in the last 20, 30 years, we’ve seen [rare violins] Has become an alternative asset for many. So prices go up really fast and by a lot,” said Carlos Tomé, director and head of sales at Tarisio, an international auction house for rare stringed instruments and bows in New York, which plans to sell within 24 hours. online auction.

Anticipating interest from around the world, Talisio has been presenting violins in the United States, Europe and parts of Asia.

The instrument, known as the “Baltic” Guarneri – the instruments of these two great violin makers are often individually named after the people who owned them in the past – has been in a private collection since 1979. It is one of 150 known Guarnerian instruments; there are approximately 600 known Stradivarian instruments.

Private collectors often acquire these instruments and loan them to professional violinists for performance.

“I mean, I wish my bank account could buy this, and I’m going to do it now,” said Grammy-winning violinist Charles Young, who presented “Baltic” Guarneri in Talisio Ability to fiddle (in addition to yours).

“But there [are] There are also incredible customers who buy these instruments in the first place for the value … they are incredible investments,” Young said. “But they are also loaned out to extremely talented players, sometimes for life. “

Previous owners of this particular Guarneri included an instrument importer and an organ manufacturer wurlitzer corp.which, according to Tarisio, gave the name “Baltic”.

While some recently built violins have sometimes won listening tests against Stradivari and Guarneri instruments, the latter are still revered for their sound and historical significance.

Many science tests, including computed tomography and Chemical analysisMultiple theories have been produced as to what gave the two manufacturers’ instruments their unique and coveted sound.

But so far, these efforts have yielded only theories, not definitive answers.Some people think that the violin is painted with A specially formulated varnish. others believe wood used by violin makers It is unique due to a period of cold weather patterns affecting trees near Cremona, Italy.

Front and side views of “Baltic” Guarneri, which is expected to fetch $10 million at auction this month. (courtesy of Tarisio, 2023)

“We know exactly how they were made because a lot of these tools and materials have been around for years,” said David Bonsey, a New York-based violin maker and restorer of old instruments.

“What we don’t know is what’s going on in their heads. When they made these instruments, they didn’t benefit from the science…they just followed their intuition and what they traditionally did, what was taught to them. “

The unsolved mysteries of how these great violins were made ensured that they will never be in short supply. This trickles down to violins from other great manufacturers – both new and old – to the level that professional violinists demand.

In fact, Young says his parents bought his first professional violin when he was in high school, and it was so expensive they had to remortgage the house to pay for it.

“It’s not like [the ‘Baltic’ Guarneri]”Yang said. “That violin has been with me for many years, and I still play it today. “

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