Home » Violinist Resources » Violin News and Culture » How Many Stradivarius Violins Are There? 

How Many Stradivarius Violins Are There? 

How many Stradivarius.violins are there?

Are Stradivarius Violins Really Rare?

Have you ever asked yourself, “how many Stradivarius violins are there in the world today?” The question may come from an interest in the history of the instrument, or perhaps you simply want to start playing the violin.

Regardless, the answer may surprise you.

There are many violins out there that bear the label, “Stradivarius” but, unfortunately, these labels often mean made in the style of, rather than made by the master.

Below you’ll find all you need to know about these elusive violins.

What is a Stradivarius violin?

A true Stradivarius must be made by Antonio Stradivari himself. He was a master at making musical instruments in many different forms. While he is most famous for his violins and the impact that his design had on the future of these instruments, he also made violas, harps, and cellos.

All of the instruments that he made bear a label written in Latin. This label reads: “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno [date].” It indicated the maker, the place of production, and the date.

The man was a master craftsman, and his violins are acknowledged as the best ever produced. His design became a gold standard in violin-making. Unfortunately, as a result, several knock-offs were made.

These would also bear the name of the master but not with the aim of hoodwinking people buying them. These copies would be a lot less expensive to buy and shoppers of the time understood that they weren’t getting the real thing.

Unfortunately, though, a couple of hundred years later, this has led to a lot of confusion.

One thing is for certain, though, these instruments certainly do capture the imagination. Take the so-called Red Violin, for example. It was made by Stradivari in 1720 and disappeared for a couple of centuries to reemerge as a gift for a talented player today.

Red Violin

It’s a story that lends itself to telling, and a movie based on the legend was made. Whether or not the film is accurate is open to debate, but it is very entertaining.

How much is a Stradivarius worth?

A violin that has been established as genuine is worth millions. The highest price paid to date in this area is $16 million. So, if you do suspect that you have a real Stradivarius, be sure to have it appraised as soon as possible – we’re not talking about chump change.

What kind of wood is a Stradivarius violin made of?

The wood used is by Stradivarius was Maple infused with minerals. It is this infusion that some claim is the reason behind why we have not been able to replicate the sound produced by the genuine article even if we stick to the exact same measurements and use Maple wood as well.

How many Stradivarius violins are known to exist?

It is estimated that in total, Stradivari made around 1,100 musical instruments in total. Of these, 600 are still thought to be in existence. Of that number, only 244 violins are currently accounted for.

Part of the problem is that identifying a real model is particularly difficult because there were many copies produced over the next few centuries. These may come to light now and look very much like a genuine Stradivari.

Many instruments dating back to the 1700s and 1800s are still in circulation today. The problem is that they are the right age, look right, and may even have the name of the master in them.

The only real way to tell whether or not your instrument is the real thing is to have it certified by an expert in the field. There are subtle differences in the varnishes used, the chemical composition of the wood, etc. that are not possible to pick up with the naked eye.

What is the most expensive violin in the world?

That would be the Messiah Stradivarius. It is currently estimated to be worth $20,000,000. Why is it so valuable?  It is the only known Stradivarius that is in nearly new condition. The original varnish is still in place and in very good repair.


It is famous for being produced when the master was at the peak of his powers. It is said that this instrument has never been played. We wonder what the master might have thought of that – we find it a little sad, and we feel that he might have as well.

Would he scoff at a musical instrument being on display in a museum, never to be played? Who knows, but we think it likely.

Stradivari is acknowledged as one of the master craftsmen of his era. His work remains unparalleled even today despite all of our technology. If you do ever get the chance to play one of his instruments, make sure that you take that opportunity.

Follow Amanda Varney:

Chief editor at newviolinist.com

Amanda has been chief editor for NewViolinist since 2016. Since then, she and her team have helped thousands of musicians learn more about their instruments and achieve their own musical goals.

2 Responses

  1. blank
    Graham McMorrow
    | Reply

    Dear Sir or Madam
    Thank-you enormously for an extremely interesting and informative article. I believed that if an instrument is not played, as the one in the museum, then its tone and resonance diminish; is that true?

    • blank
      New Violinist
      | Reply

      Hi Graham,
      An instrument will certainly loose it’s tone and resonance if it is not maintained. I believe curators are aware of this and make sure these fine musical treasures get the attention they deserve as long as they are still functional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *