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Violins

While experts debate the origin of the violin, it was most likely derived from an Arabic instrument called the rabab which dates to the 9th century A.D. This instrument was made from a gourd with a long neck. It had two silk strings which were attached to an endpin and strung to pegs that were used to tune the strings in fifths. The rabab was held in a person's lap and played with a bow. After the Crusades, similar instruments appeared in Europe, including the rebec in Spain and the vielle in France.

The violin as we know it originated in Italy in the 1500s. Andrea Amati of Cremona is the first known documented violin maker. The oldest-surviving violin, dating to 1560, is one of Amati's instruments. Antonio Stradivari, the most famous violin maker in history, was an apprentice of Amati's son, Nicolo. Stradivari made more than 1,000 instruments during the later 1600s and 1700s, most of which were considered the highest-quality instruments made. Today, Stradivarius violins are the most valuable – and the most counterfeited -- instruments on the market.

Other famous makers of antique violins who were contemporaries of Stradivari include Jacob Stainer, the first important violin maker outside of Italy, and Matthias Klotz, a German violin maker who studied with both Nicolo Amati and Jacob Stainer. Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu, member of the violin-making Guarneri family of Venice, is considered to be second only to Stradivari in the quality of his instruments.


Quick Facts

  • Many people buy antique violins as investments. Because of this, the antique violin market is filled with forgeries. Collectors should research individual instruments before purchasing
  • The Vieuxtemps Guarnerius violin made by Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu in 1741 was sold in 2014 for a world record price of $16 million
  • The most valuable violin in the world is the Messiah Stradivarius crafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1716. It has never been played, so it is in like-new condition. Its current value is $20 million

Recommended Items at Auction

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GROUP OF 7 STRADIVARIUS STYLE/COPY VIOLINS
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
GROUP OF 7 STRADIVARIUS STYLE/COPY VIOLINS
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$1752 Bids
JOHANN CHRISTHOF NURNBERG VIOLIN, 1805
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
JOHANN CHRISTHOF NURNBERG VIOLIN, 1805
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $400- $600
$2501 Bid
THREE STRADIVARIUS COPY VIOLINS
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
THREE STRADIVARIUS COPY VIOLINS
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$1751 Bid
H. R. PFRETZSCHNER VIOLIN BOW, BERLIN
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
H. R. PFRETZSCHNER VIOLIN BOW, BERLIN
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$1751 Bid
Nicholas Amati Special Model Violin
Oct 29, 9:30 AM EDT
Nicholas Amati Special Model Violin
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
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Group of 3 Violins in Soft Cases
Nov 07, 10:00 AM EDT
Group of 3 Violins in Soft Cases
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
Mendini Cecilo 1/4 Violin With Case
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Mendini Cecilo 1/4 Violin With Case
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Violin Conrad Glaesel 1910 Sizes: H=590mm L=210mm Weight (K): 0,48kg Condition: at fi
Oct 31, 10:00 AM CET
Violin Conrad Glaesel 1910 Sizes: H=590mm L=210mm Weight (K): 0,48kg Condition: at fi
by Goldfield Auction
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€1,0000 Bids
Beautifully crafted early 19th century violin and bows Sizes: L violon 600mm L=210mm Weigh
Oct 31, 10:00 AM CET
Beautifully crafted early 19th century violin and bows Sizes: L violon 600mm L=210mm Weigh
by Goldfield Auction
Est: €1,000- €2,000
€1,0000 Bids
4/4-Violine mit Bogen im Kasten. Wohl Kloz-Schule Mittenwald.
Oct 28, 9:00 AM CEST
4/4-Violine mit Bogen im Kasten. Wohl Kloz-Schule Mittenwald.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€9000 Bids
COPY OF A JAMES REYNOLDS CARLISLE VIOLIN
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
COPY OF A JAMES REYNOLDS CARLISLE VIOLIN
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $200- $300
$1250 Bids
4 MISCELLANEOUS VIOLIN BOWS INCLUDING A DURRO
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
4 MISCELLANEOUS VIOLIN BOWS INCLUDING A DURRO
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $200- $300
$1250 Bids
ITALIAN AMATI CREMONA COPY VIOLIN
Oct 26, 10:00 AM EDT
ITALIAN AMATI CREMONA COPY VIOLIN
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$1750 Bids
German Lion Headed Violin of American Interest
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
German Lion Headed Violin of American Interest
by Nye & Company
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
German Lion Headed Violin of American Interest
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
German Lion Headed Violin of American Interest
by Nye & Company
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
German Lion Headed Violin of American Interest
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
German Lion Headed Violin of American Interest
by Nye & Company
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Rare 17th century violin (attached various documents) Sizes: L violon = 600mm Weight (K):
Oct 31, 10:00 AM CET
Rare 17th century violin (attached various documents) Sizes: L violon = 600mm Weight (K):
by Goldfield Auction
Est: €4,000- €5,000
€4,0000 Bids
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Violín con estuche.
Oct 26, 4:30 PM CEST
Violín con estuche.
by Arte Subastas Bilbao
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
French School 19th C. Musician with violin
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
French School 19th C. Musician with violin
by Duran Arte Y Subastas
Est: €0- €0
€3500 Bids
Folk Art Violin, Monkey's Head
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Folk Art Violin, Monkey's Head
by Nye & Company
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Violins


Nye & Company

Nye & Company

Weschler's

Weschler's

Auktionshaus Mehlis GmbH

Auktionshaus Mehlis GmbH