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How Many Violins Did Stradivarius Make?

How Many Violins Did Stradivarius Make?

The world-renowned violin maker Antonio Stradivari was born in 1644 and lived until 1737. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest makers of violins ever. 

It is estimated that he made around 1,100 instruments, including violins, cellos, harps, and guitars – but only about 650 of these are still in existence today.

Is it estimated that Antonio Stradivarius made 960 violins in his lifetime.

Stradivarius instruments are particularly famous for their superior sound quality, which is believed to have come from Stradivari’s unique techniques and materials. He experimented with different types of wood, varnishes, and shapes to create the perfect sound. 

It has been said that even modern violins cannot match the sound and beauty of a Stradivarius.

How Many Stradivarius Violins Are There? 

The exact number of violins Stradivari made is unknown, but it is believed to be between 960 and 1,100. Of these, about 650 remain in existence today. This includes approximately 400 violins, 40 cellos, and other instruments such as guitars and mandolins.

Most of the violins that he made are still in use today, with some fetching millions of dollars at auction. They are highly sought after by professional musicians and collectors alike, making them some of the most valuable instruments in the world. (1)

Stradivarius violin in the royal palace in Madrid.
Stradivarius violin in the royal palace in Madrid
Σπάρτακος, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are the top 10 most expensive Stradivari violins sold: 

  • The Lady Blunt (1721): This violin was sold at auction for an astonishing $15.9 million in 2011. It is considered to be the best-preserved Stradivarius Violin ever found and is named after Lady Anne Blunt, the daughter of Lord Byron.
  • The Hammer (1707): This one was sold in 2006 for a record-breaking $3.9 million and was named after the owner’s last name, Carl Hammer.
  • The Molitor (1697): This Stradivarius instrument was sold at Christie’s Auction House in 2010 for an impressive $2.2 million and is named after the French countess who previously owned it.
  • The Messiah (1716): It was sold in 2006 at an auction for $2 million and is named after its original owner, Irish composer George Frideric Handel.
  • Le Duc (1731): Named after King Louis XV’s cousin Le Duc de Châteauroux, this violin was sold for $1.2 million in 2005 at an auction in London.
  • The Lord Wilton (1742): This Stradivari Violin was sold for $1.2 million in 2011 and is named after its previous owner, the Earl of Wilton.
  • The Tobias (1713): It was sold in 2008 at an auction in London for $1 million and is named after its previous owner, 19th-century French violinist Joseph Tobias.
  • The Drackenbacker (1731): Created by Stradivari’s student Giuseppe Guarneri, this violin was sold for $974,000 in 2008 and is named after its previous owner, musician John J. Drackenbacker.
  • The Lipinski (1715): Named after Polish virtuoso Karol Lipinski, it was sold in 2009 at an auction in London for $870,000.
  • The Kreisler (1720): This one was sold in 2008 at an auction in London for $859,400 and is named after its previous owner, renowned violinist Fritz Kreisler. 

Overview of His Life and Work

Antonio Stradivari was an Italian luthier and was renowned all over the world for the string instruments he created. These included violins, cellos, guitars, and harps. He was widely recognized for his uniquely crafted violins which are renowned for their great sound quality. 

A romanticized print of Antonio Stradivari examining an instrument.
A romanticized print of Antonio Stradivari examining an instrument
Viktor Bobrov, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Antonio Stradivari was born in 1644 in Cremona, a small town in northern Italy, to Alessandro Stradivari and began his career as an apprentice to Nicolò Amati. 

He went on to develop his own style of violin-making, which had a profound influence on the development of stringed instruments for centuries.

He sold the majority of his instruments during his lifetime in Italy and other European countries. While Stradivari’s instruments were popular when they were first released, their true value was realized only after his death

Stradivari instruments are now highly sought-after, as they possess a unique sound quality and have a distinctive design. His violins are made with only the finest materials, such as spruce, maple, and willow woods, ivory bridges, ebony fingerboards, and tuning pegs.

After his death in 1737, the craftsmanship of his violins continued to be admired by musicians and instrument makers alike. In modern times, his violins often fetch astronomical prices at auctions. His instruments are used in orchestras around the world, and replica models of his original designs can still be found for sale today. (2)

Reasons Why Stradivarius Violins Are so Highly Coveted 

Close-Up Shot of a Person Playing Violin.
Photo by RODNAE Productions

Here are some reasons why these violins are valued at such a high price: 

  • Their construction is unique and has never been replicated since; they feature a one-piece carved back and ribs that are thicker than most modern violins.
  • The soundboards of Stradivarius violins are made from spruce harvested in the Italian Alps and treated with a secret formula that is still unknown today.
  • These instruments have aged for centuries, which has allowed them to acquire a deep and mellow musical texture that gives them their signature sound. 
  • Their shape and structure have remained unchanged since the time of Stradivari, making them a true symbol of timeless design. 
  • Collectors seek out Stradivarius violins for their rarity and investment value; they can be worth millions of dollars due to their limited availability in the market.
  • These violins are also cherished treasures to musicians, who strive to bring out the full potential of these extraordinary instruments with their own artistry. 
  • These characteristics combine to make Stradivarius violins some of the most sought-after musical instruments around the world today. 

(3)

Conclusion

Antonio Stradivari’s violins remain a testament to his genius and creativity. His instruments have withstood the test of time and will continue to be revered by musicians around the world for centuries to come. 

The unique sound quality and craftsmanship of Stradivarius violins make them highly sought-after by both collectors and musicians alike. The incomparable musical beauty of these instruments will continue to draw the attention of admirers for many years to come.  

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