Q: I inherited a violin that’s labeled as a copy of a Stradivarius made in 1721. Is it worth anything?

A: Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) made violins, violas, cellos, guitars and harps in his shop in Cremona, Italy. After he died, his sons continued in the business. “Fake” Stradivari violins have been made in many countries since the mid 1800s. Instruments meant for export to the United States had to be marked with the country of origin after 1891. Beginning in 1957, the words “copy of” were added to labels on some of these violins. Today, some manufacturers make violins using modern techniques that replicate Stradivari’s work and sell for high prices. But most “Stradivarius” violins are poor imitations and don’t sell for much. Prices depend on quality and range from $50 to $500.


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