The most expensive instruments in the world: Top 11 list ranked (with prices)

The most expensive instruments in the world: Top 11 list ranked (with prices)

Music is an art that connects people through its unfailing way of expressing emotions. Besides their innate talents, musicians draw attention because of their prowess in playing musical instruments. This list of the most expensive instruments in the world lets you into the ins and outs of the musical world.

What is the most expensive instrument in the orchestra
The Macdonald Stradivarius viola created in 1719 by Antonio Stradivari (1641-1737), at Sotheby's auction house in Paris in April 2014. Photo: Bertrand Guay
Source: Getty Images

With hundreds of unique musical instruments in existence, some cost a pretty penny due to several factors. For more details, go through this list.

Top 11 most expensive instruments in the world

What is the most expensive instrument in the world? How much does it cost and why? Read on for answers to these questions.

11. Torres Classical Guitar – $157,000

A guitar's value is often connected to the artist that played it, not the manufacturer. However, this is different for the Torres Classical Guitar, one of Antonio de Torres Jurado's creations in the 1800s. Antonio invented the modern-day classical guitar using his unique design. The Torres Classical Guitar sold for $157,000 at an auction in 2017.

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musical instruments
The studio still life of an 1860 Torres classical guitar, photographed in the United Kingdom. Photo: Nigel Osbourne
Source: Getty Images

10. Louis XV Special Harp – $189,000

Concert harps are generally very bulky and costly to make; hence, they are expensive. The Louis XV Special Harp is considered the Rolls Royce of harps, priced at $190,000. Besides the brand name, the amount of labour and materials that went into creating it influenced its price. Furthermore, harps are made on preorder, and any two will rarely be identical.

9. The Fender Stratocaster: Blackie – $959,500

Guitars might not be the most expensive band instrument. However, the Fender Stratocaster, affectionately known as Blackie, is a rare kind.

Eric Clapton made Blackie from a 1956 Stratocaster body which he connected to a 1957 Stratocaster neck. Blackie became Clapton's preferred instrument while in the studio or on stage. He auctioned it for $959,500 to raise money for his rehab centre.

Top 10 most expensive musical instruments
The Fender Eric Clapton "Blackie" re-creation on display during a press preview in 2011 at Bonhams New York. Photo: Timothy Clary
Source: Getty Images

8. Lady of Tennant-Lafont Stradivarius Violin – $2,032,000

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The Lady of Tennant-Lafont Stradivarius Violin is one of the most expensive violins. Thanks to the beautiful sound it created, it was loaned to musicians to play in recordings and concerts. It was sold for $2.03 million at an auction in 2005.

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Antonio Stradivari made this antique violin in 1699, one year before his 'golden' period. Photo: @Music Sanguine and @Lutnictwo Lutherie Geigenbaukunst Violin Making on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

7. Steinway Z Piano – $2,370,000

The Steinway Z Piano is the most expensive piano in 2023. It is not valuable because of what it is but who played it. John Lennon, the iconic songwriter, used the Steinway Z Piano to compose and record one of his hits, Imagine, in 1971. The Steinway Z Piano sold for $2.37 million.

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The Steinway Z Piano at the Hard Rock Cafe in London. Photo: Peter Jordan
Source: Getty Images

6. The Hammer Stradivarius Violin – $3,500,000

The Hammer Stradivarius Violin is another of the most expensive musical instruments. It was named after Christian Hammer, its first owner. Stradivarius created the violin during the golden years of his instrument-making career. Therefore, this factor significantly influenced the violin's value. The Hammer sold for $3.5 million in an auction in 2006.

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Priya Mitchell plays an Italian violin by Antonio Stradivari at Christie's auction house in Kensington, London, in September 2002. Photo: Gerry Penny
Source: Getty Images

5. The Lausanne Cathedral Pipe Organ – $4,500,000

The Lausanne Cathedral Pipe Organ is one of the most expensive instruments. It is an enormous instrument and is often found in large cathedrals. It comprises extensive material and is very costly to build. The Lausanne Cathedral Pipe Organ cost $4.5 million to build.

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A section of the Lausanne Cathedral Pipe Organ. It is one of the biggest musical instruments. Photo: @Paula Elizabeth Casey and @Tom Naylor on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

4. The ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivari (1712) – $15,900,000

The ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivari (1712), another piece by Antonio Stradivari, is also one of the most expensive instruments. The ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivari (1712) was sold for $15.9 million during a charity fund drive. It sold for a significantly higher price because it was considered one of the best-preserved violins by Stradivari.

Musical instruments
Visitors view 'The Lady Blunt' violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1721 on show at the Stradivarius exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in June 2013 in Oxford, England. Photo: Oli Scarff
Source: Getty Images

3. Guiseppe Guarneri Vieuxtemps Violin – $16,000,000

The Guiseppe Guarneri Vieuxtemps Violin is the most expensive violin ever made. Guiseppe Guarneri, the Italian craftsman, created it in 1741, and its popularity grew after the world's famous violinists played it. This instrument was sold in 2012 for $16 million to an anonymous buyer. Currently, it is said to be on a permanent loan to Akiko Meyers.

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The Guarneri del Gesu violin was once owned by the composer Vieuxtemps. Photo: Carl Court
Source: Getty Images

2. Duport Stradivarius Cello – $20,000,000

The Duport Stradivarius Cello is the second most expensive instrument ever sold. It is also the most expensive Stradivarius instrument ever to exist. The Nippon Music Foundation bought it for $20 million in 2008.

1. MacDonald Stradivarius Viola – $45,000,000

What is the most expensive musical instrument of all time? The MacDonald Stradivarius Viola is the most expensive musical instrument. It is not a violin but a viola, one of the reasons influencing its high price. According to allegations, only ten of these instruments exist today.

The most expensive viola
The Macdonald" Stradivarius viola was created in 1719 by Antonio Stradivari (1641-1737) at Sotheby's auction house in Paris in April 2014. Photo: Bertrand Guay
Source: Getty Images

Frequently asked questions

The answers to these questions shed more light on musical instruments:

Which is more expensive, a guitar or a violin?

Generally, violins are more expensive than guitars. The prices of the two instruments vary depending on the craftsmanship, brand and materials used in their construction.

What is the rarest instrument?

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The rarest musical instruments include the Pyrophone, Zadar sea organ, Zeusaphone or thoramin and the glass harmonica.

What is the king of all instruments?

The organ is considered the king of all instruments because of its versatility in producing a wide range of sounds, tone colours and timbres. Therefore it can create various musical textures and be used in diverse music genres.

What are the top 5 hardest instruments?

The top 5 hardest musical instruments to learn include:

  • The oboe
  • The violin
  • The French horn
  • The piano
  • The Hammond organ

The most expensive instruments have a high price tag because of the resources that went into making them or the people who played them. For those with a love of music, the cost of high-end instruments can often run into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

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Source: Briefly News

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