Guarnerius breaks world record at $9.44 mllion

Guarnerius breaks world record at $9.44 mllion


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2023

The so-called the ‘Baltic’ Guarneri del Gesù has sold at a Tarision online auction for a record $9.44 million. That’s three times the previous top price for an instrument from that maker.

It was previously ownned by a Hong Kong amateur.


  • says:

    It’s absolutely not the top price for a del Gesu…private sales have eclipsed 12 million. Perhaps a record at a Tarisio auction, yes – but not “a record for the maker”.

    Anne Akiko’s fiddle, anyone? Her husband bought it for her for 16MM

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    How and why a Picasso can fetch ten times as much—we may not be able to know. A del Gesu is a living object. It does something, in a way that has yet to be equaled. It’s rarer than a Strad and more consistently of the highest tonal qualities. Heifetz, Paganini, Vieuxtemps, Ysaye, Zukerman and others all preferred their del Gesus.
    There might be 700 Strads out there, a mixed bag tonally (and when did 700 make a violin maker’s work rare? How many other makers have 700 violins out and about?).

    Bravo on the sale. We can only hope it’s played by a special violinist and not tucked away in a billionaire’s closet.

  • Edje says:

    The lord Wilton del gesu was sold by Canadian collector David Fulton for 25 million a few years ago. The 9.4 mil for the Baltic is a world record for a del gesu sold at auction, not a record if you include private sales.

    • Anon says:

      Yes. Auction histories are available to the public and the media. The highest price ever paid at auction is provable.
      The highest price paid in a private sale is unknown. You wouldn’t know if some wealthy individual in Bosnia or Hong Kong purchased a del Gesu for $100 million.

  • Reality Sux says:

    Anon, there’s nothing the violin trade is interested in more than in continuously increasing prices of rare instruments. You can bet your tuchus the news of a private sale to the tune of 100 million would find its way to the public. No chance would that information remain private.

    Secondly, a violin trade insider told me today that the family who owns the Del Gesu Baltic was offered 10 million for the violin in a potential private sale in 2001, and they declined. That’s over 17 million in today’s money. There you have it.

  • soavemusica says:

    These violins should be played, and bought by, and sold to patrons.