Sticker Shock: Violin for Sale at $18 Million

Violin strings stretch purse strings

By Matt Bartosik
|  Friday, Jul 9, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 AM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Chicago's Reality Connection

Getty Images

Singer and violinist Jenny Scheinman will be performing at the Loft

Photos and Videos
More Photos and Videos

In the market for a new violin? Start saving up those pennies, and don't think you'll save money on a used one. The world's (potentially) most expensive violin is right here in Chicago at an asking price of $18 million.

Maybe you should take up saxophone instead.

While many people are familiar with the Stradivarius—deemed the very best of old violins—an instrument made by one of Antonio Stradivari's rivals is even rarer. Approximately 640 of Stradivari's violins are in existence today, but only 140 violins created by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri, del Gesù, are left in the world.

One of those violins—called the Vieuxtemps Guarneri—is right here in Chicago. Created in 1741, it was one of the very last violins Guarneri made before he died three years later.

Violin aficionados can get into long debates comparing the quality and sound between the Stradivarius and the Vieuxtemps.

To put that in Chicago layman's terms, consider the argument on where to get the best Italian beef.

The 269-year-old violin is up for sale through Bein & Fushi, a top dealer of some of the world's most expensive antique instruments.

And while dealers are sometimes accused of manipulating the market, experts argue that the violin is worth the $18 million pricetag.

"The short answer is that you can't make a 300-year-old instrument today," David Schoenbaum, a historian at the University of Iowa, told the New York Times. "You can't replace 300 years of mystique."

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our Weather App
Stay ahead of the storm with the NBC 5... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out