A 1736 Violin Could Sell for More than $10 Million at Auction

It's one of a few made by Giuseppe Guarneri

Historical violins
Violins at the the Violin Museum in Cremona, including some designed by Giuseppe Guarneri.
AFP via Getty Images

What kind of musical instrument can demand an eight-figure sum at auction? It helps to be designed by Giuseppe Guarneri, born in 1698 and considered to be one of the foremost luthiers in musical history. Experts speak of him in the same breath as Antonio Stradivari, though his area of expertise was more focused. Guarneri made violins alone, and only about 200 have survived to the present day.

In early June, the French auction house Aguttes will auction off one of Guarneri’s violins as part of an auction focused on violins and bows. And if you’re looking to purchase the violin in question, it won’t come cheap. A CNN article on the auction notes that it’s estimated to sell for around $10.6 million.

This violin isn’t simply an object to be displayed — in recent years, it’s been in the possession of acclaimed violinist Régis Pasquier. This particular violin was crafted near the end of Guarneri’s life, in 1736. It’s the first time one of his violins has been sold in the last decade, and the first one from this period of his career to be sold in the present century.

“There are many violins, but this one is like selling a Rembrandt, a Goya or even a Leonardo da Vinci painting,” Sophie Perrine of Aguttes told CNN. Though perhaps it has one advantage over them: this, it could be argued, is a work of art that enables the creation of other works of art.

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