Over the last two centuries, fine antique stringed instruments have proven to be a lucrative and safe investment. To assess the magnitude of their returns, we have conducted an extensive analysis of the prices of violins made by Antonio Stradivari, the most illustrious and sought-after of violin makers.
The prices of his violins have grown significantly, especially in the last four decades. Partly as a consequence of their limited availability, the market has witnessed a steady and substantial rise in the prices of instruments by other master craftsmen too. In a way, the evolution of Stradivari violin prices is a reflection of the dynamics of the whole antique instruments market.
Our team has compiled a database of hundreds of sales of violins by the great Cremonese luthier, transactions that were completed across the world in the last 220 years. The datapoints were obtained from reliable sources, including company records from J & A Beare and other historical and influential dealers as well as auctions prices.
This unprecedent body of work has led to an impressive analysis of sales data for Stradivari violins spanning transactions going back to 1800, which generated impressive results in terms of average returns for this specific market.
Stradivari violins have consistently proven to be safe, stable and excellent investments combining the high returns achievable in equity markets with the stability and low risk offered by long-dated US Government debt.
However, not all Stradivari are equal in quality, preservation and pedigree and their prices can vary considerably as a result. To generate the most accurate picture of historical prices variations, the team extracted from the hundreds of recorded transactions, those that related exclusively to the same instrument, sold at least twice at different times. For these repeat sales, they were then able to calculate the exact annual average return actually achieved in each case by each investor.
The team then focused its attention on the period starting around 1980, as in the last 40 years or so structural changes have shifted the dynamics of the violin landscape and shaped it into the market we still have today.
The combined average returns for each datapoint were then used to create the Beare’s Stradivari Price Index, tracking the actual increase in value of Stradivari violins, which was then compared with the performance of other asset classes during the same period.
KMPG LLP were then engaged to provide independent limited assurance over the Beare’s Stradivari Price Index and they issued an unqualified opinion over the way the index was built and the results it generated. We believe the Index is a first in the world of fine antique stringed instruments and are proud to have been able to produce an analytical tool with such an authoritative endorsement.
The results prove beyond doubt that prices of Stradivari violins have been growing steadily and at exceptional rates across the period under examination, and they compare particularly well against many other asset classes in terms of returns and volatility.
“The Beare’s Stradivari Price Index is the verified confirmation of what J & A Beare have always known – that Stradivari violins are an incredible investment and a stable and safe asset class providing good financial returns while supporting musicians and audiences. Such a combination is unique to these instruments in which J & A Beare have been acknowledged experts since 1892.“
Steven Smith, Managing Director, J & A Beare
If you are interested in learning more about the analytical work carried out by our team and the Beare’s Stradivari Price Index, please contact:
J & A Beare
+44 (0)20 7307 9657