Forget fine wine and fast cars, the latest investments to hit the high notes are musical instruments. Last week a 1950s violin made from one of Winston Churchill’s cigar boxes sold for £6,600. Before that, a violin by Tommaso Balestrieri sold for £300,000, although this is nothing compared to the prices fetched by Antonio Stradivari instruments, which sell for millions.
Experts have been buying at auction for years. Now the specialist broker Violin Assets is helping less musically inclined investors to differentiate between a Guarneri
and a Guadagnini.
Christian Reister, the company’s co-founder, says instruments are attractive investments because they show “stable increases in value, without the boom and bust of
the markets”. His most expensive instrument on sale is a Stradivarius violin for €5 million (£4.44 million) and his cheapest is a contemporary violin by Alessandro Ciciliati at €30,000. He says that 5 to 8 per cent annual appreciation is achieveable, although the best instruments can earn returns of 23 per cent a year.
The value of an instrument is not damaged by use and could even be enhanced if they are played by someone well known, such as Nicola Benedetti. Many investors, in fact, loan their instruments to struggling young musicians.