Fiddling with Value: Violins as an Investment?

39 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2008

See all articles by Kathryn Graddy

Kathryn Graddy

Brandeis University - Department of Economics

Philip Margolis

Cozio Publishing

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


This paper measures the returns to investing in violins using two different datasets. One dataset includes 75 observations on repeat sales of the same violins at auction starting in the mid-19th century and another dataset includes over 2000 observations on individual violin sales at auction since 1980. Overall real returns for the dataset on repeat sales for the period 1850-2006 have been approximately 3.5%. Real returns to the overall portfolio of individual sales since 1980 have been nearly 4%. While this return is lower than other standard investments, the price path has been stable with a slight negative correlation to stocks and bonds.

Keywords: Auctions, Investment, Repeat Sales, Violins

JEL Classification: D44, G11, L82

Suggested Citation

Graddy, Kathryn and Margolis, Philip, Fiddling with Value: Violins as an Investment?. CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6583, Available at SSRN:

Kathryn Graddy (Contact Author)

Brandeis University - Department of Economics ( email )

415 South Street MS 021
Waltham, MA 02453-2728
United States
781-736-8616 (Phone)
781-736-2269 (Fax)


Philip Margolis

Cozio Publishing ( email )

Hanflaenderstr. 41
8640 Rapperswil

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