The Story Of The Most Expensive Instrument Sold
via The Met / Youtube
In the realm of music history, there are certain instruments that transcend their physical existence to become cultural and monetary icons. The story of the most expensive instrument ever sold is a journey through the worlds of classical music, rock legends, and remarkable craftsmanship.
The Iconic Lennon Connection
In the year 2000, a surreal tale unfolded in the pop culture universe. John Lennon’s beloved Steinway piano, the instrument behind the iconic anthem “Imagine,” found its way to an auction at a Hard Rock Café in London. George Michael, the Gallagher brothers, and Robbie Williams all participated in the bidding for this extraordinary piece. Ultimately, George Michael secured the piano for £1.45 million, declaring that it should be seen by people as a symbol of peace. He took the piano on a global tour and used it in the recording of his song “Patience,” honoring its significance.
“It’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected; it should be seen by people.” – George Michael
While George Michael’s purchase was remarkable, it pales in comparison to the priciest musical instruments ever sold. The title is fiercely contested by two contenders, each with its unique legacy. The first is the ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius violin, sold in 2011 for a staggering $15.9 million. Considered one of the finest preserved Stradivarius instruments, it was named after Lady Anne Blunt, a pioneering figure in horse breeding.
“The violin is considered one of the top two preserved Stradivarius instruments on the planet.”
The Duport Stradivarius cello also vies for the top spot, created in 1711. This instrument has lived a storied life, changing hands among notable musicians. While the Nippon Music Foundation reportedly purchased it for $20 million, its current whereabouts are shrouded in mystery, adding an enigmatic twist to its legacy.
The Stradivari Legacy
Antonio Stradivari, born in 1644, stands as the master luthier behind these exquisite instruments. Crafting a total of 1116 instruments, with 650 surviving, Stradivari’s violins remain revered for their artistic craftsmanship and historical significance. These instruments not only produce beautiful sounds but also bear rich stories that captivate enthusiasts worldwide.
The Unveiling of Priceless Creations
While Stradivari’s creations command astronomical prices, they represent more than monetary value. The Vieuxtemps Guarneri Violin, purchased anonymously for a reported $16 million, serves as an example. Built by Giuseppe Guarneri in 1741, this violin has been infused with history and artistry. Similarly, the MacDonald Stradivarius Viola, one of only ten ever made, entered the auction arena with a minimum bid of $45 million in 2014.
“The Vieuxtemps Guarneri Violin was recently purchased anonymously for a reported $16m and loaned to Anne Akiko Meyers to play for the rest of her life or as long as her chemistry with it remains.”
A Melodic Future
As the world embraces digital transformation, these priceless instruments are likely to remain the pinnacle of musical investments. Their allure lies not just in their monetary worth, but in the stories they tell and the harmony they inspire. From Lennon’s Steinway to Stradivarius masterpieces, the tale of the most expensive instrument sold is a symphony of art, music, and timeless value.