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For centuries musical instruments have been highly desirable and valuable possessions. Blending both science and art, musical instruments are sought after by collectors, investors as well as musicians themselves, the same individual can belong to all three groups. Musical instruments are frequently seen as symbols of status. From renaissance era portraiture onwards subjects would often be posed with a Lute, Viola da Gamba or keyboard instrument indicative of the sitters wealth and appreciation of the arts. Architectural details on great buildings will feature musical instrument groups symbolic of the art and culture.
There are many facets to the value of an instrument. Akin to a work of art, the name alone of a great maker or factory can lead the value. The era an instrument belongs to can influence saleability. Makers and factories can have a golden period. The culmination of years of experience and experimenting boiled down into a period of production that produces the greatest sounding instruments. Sound is the most important factor but looks play a part in the value of a musical instrument. Pieces can carry elaborate decoration, lavished with pearl, bone, ivory, marquetry, gold, silver and any other exotic detail available to the maker designed to convince both player and audience alike that this prestigious instrument has the best sound available.
The age of an instrument is a deciding factor in value. For centuries musicians have preferred older musical instruments associating better tones and playability to pieces that have been around for some time. In the Victorian era it was fashionable to artificially age string instruments, even add in a fake crack to the top of a violin. Makers today still add the ‘vintage’ or weathered look instruments in order to enhance saleability. Provence is a final factor in value. Association with a great player, orchestra or band will enhance the value of a musical instrument.
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