Fiddling with Value: Violins as an Investment?

15 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2011

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

Date Written: October 2011


This paper measures the returns to investing in violins, using two different datasets. One dataset includes 337 observations on repeat sales of the same violins at auction and at dealer sales starting in the mid‐nineteenth century, and another dataset includes over 2,500 observations on sales of individual violins at auction since 198'3 Overall, real returns for the dataset on repeat sales for the period 1850–2008 have been approximately 3.5%. Real returns to the overall portfolio of individual sales since 1980 have been about 3.3%. The price path has been stable with a slight negative correlation to stocks and bonds.

JEL Classification: D44, G11, L82

Suggested Citation

Graddy, Kathryn and Margolis, Philip, Fiddling with Value: Violins as an Investment? (October 2011). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 49, Issue 4, pp. 1083-1097, 2011, Available at SSRN: or

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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