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Antique Musical Instruments

Most collectors of antique musical instruments acquire them because they love music and appreciate the interesting visual appearance of vintage instruments. Many collectors specialize in collecting one type of instrument, usually one that they know how to play themselves. Other collectors view collecting antique instruments as an investment.

An item is considered an antique when it is 100 or more years old. However, collectors of musical instruments usually consider an instrument antique if it was made prior to 1930. To be of any value, an antique musical instrument should be in good physical condition with all working parts intact. Antique instruments with better sound quality sell for higher prices, and certain antique instruments retain their value better than others. Antique violins that are authenticated as original rarely decline in value, especially if they were made by famous craftsmen.

Identifying authentic antique musical instruments can be tricky. Many instruments were crafted or manufactured for distributors. These instruments may have the name of the distributor on the instrument, but not the manufacturer or craftsman. Additionally, many musical instruments are faked in an attempt to dupe investors. Collectors should thoroughly research the instruments they intend to collect before purchasing.

Quick Facts

  • The National Music Museum on the campus of the University of South Dakota holds the most inclusive collection of antique musical instruments in the world. It has more than 15,000 instruments from around the world and all historical periods
  • Primitive musical instruments are often reproduced and colorfully painted to sell to tourists in the region. These items are not antique or valuable. Authentic primitive instruments are rarely painted and usually have a patina and good quality sound when played
  • In 2015, a French Violoncello crafted by Charles Francois Gand of Paris in 1841 was sold by Skinner Auctioneers for $55,350

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Antique Musical Instruments

Amelia Jeffers

Amelia Jeffers