Great stringed instruments are a highly appreciable and low-risk investment. The supply of venerable stringed instruments is shrinking as collectors, Banks and Foundations purchase and hold great high-value instruments; demand is also increasing as more collectors and investors from Asia enter the market. In particular, Chinese collectors perceive a prestigious cultural relevance to Western culture through the purchase of fine instruments; these collectors follow the Japanese, who own 35 Strads, alongside investors in South Korea and Taiwan. It is estimated that some estimated 30 million young people are learning to play the violin in China; with the recent historic sale of the first Stradivari and Guarneri violins there, we predict significant future activity in the fine instrument market in China.
The differential factor contributing to the increasing demand for and the value of these exquisite instruments over other commercial property is their functionality. Unlike precious metals or stocks, most of these instruments are a “living” investment absolutely indispensable to musicians wishing to advance their careers, as in the case of the best international soloists and members of leading orchestras. These violins, violas and cellos are enjoyed by millions of music lovers around the world through their concerts and recordings.
The trajectory of great stringed instruments mirrors the art world: For example, a great many Italian paintings were acquired decades ago by private collectors and public art galleries, and they have not yet returned to the market. We predict a similar buy-and-hold strategy by collectors and institutions, which will further restrict supply and increase value.