Cellos, in particular, are the few instruments that are considered investments by many. Their high value of beauty, high-quality sound, and instruments are said to be worth millions. In fact, Cello instruments are among the most expensive instruments we have in the world.
This also applies to the majority of its accessories like the bow. After the famous violin, the cello takes second place as the most valuable string instrument the world has ever had. This is mainly because, the worth of a very high-quality cello and bow once crafted, only increases with age.
Unlike other instruments, with the proper care and maintenance, a high-quality cello instrument can continue producing sound tunes for over a decade without ever affecting its quality of sound. For this reason, owning a cello is always very lucrative.
This article will give a comprehensive review of the most expensive cello and bow the world has ever known. The review will include the cello’s and bow origin, history, the material used to craft, and the price.
Most Expensive Cello
quality of the material used
The quality of the material was also the main factor that really boosts the price of the most lavish cello and bow in the world. From the article, the makers seem going an extra mile with the material of wood they used to make these instruments.
For example, the most lavish cello wood material was chemically modified and enhanced to produce the antique instrument hence the price. Similarly, the most expensive bow material is seen to be of an extraordinary kind and thus made it stand out. The most expensive bow was also made using a few modernized materials and hence its worth.
The age of the cello & bow
Age was also a huge factor that made all the difference. It is one of the major factors that make string instruments stand out today.
In fact, the majority of the professional cello instrument and bows we have today are still priced according to how old they are. Who would have thought that a string instrument on once a public auction would soon be the most lavish cello in the world? The instrument was only worth a couple of dollars then.
With time the instrument’s quality of sound also grew and this is what makes the cello instrument a good investment today. The only emphasis is on proper maintenance and care. With the best possible care given to these instruments, clearly, their quality can be retained for a hundred and more years.
Although the small dent had not much impact on the cello’s quality of sound, it was clear that had it been handled better, the cello would have been a lot more.
The Duport Stradivarius Cello
The Duport Stradivarius Cello was a crafted cello instrument whose value and quality were considered to be the highest. The few who had the chance of playing the string instrument described its tone to be the purest, firm, and most penetrating sound ever attained.
According to Vuillaume, a cellist and luthier, the tone of the Duport Stradivarius cello was distinguished and had a surprising element of uniformity. The cellist also got a chance to play the cello and found it to be prodigious. On that note, let us find out more about the expensive cello in the world.
The Duport Stradivarius cello was crafted by an Italian instrument maker Antonio Stradivari. He was among the few crafts who had dedicated their life to perfecting his craft.
Based on a few documentaries on his age, Stradivari was born in the year 1644 in Cremona, Italy. He came from a well-known and established family. His father’s name was Alessandro Stradivari.
For many years, Stradivarius was a master in craft who transformed the violin design. He was among the famous luthiers in Italy who had produced over one thousand violas, guitars, violins, and cellos. In fact, over five hundred of his instruments still exist today.
Although Stradivarian was a well-established and renowned string instrument maker, his instruments were not as popular until the 19th century.
The famous craftsman later died on the 18th of December in the year1737. He had all his previous family names, a coat of arms, and his own name crafted on his grave. Unlike many, he was known as a humble and happy man who did not like using his influence on others.
The Duport Stradivari was built in the year 1711. The instrument came as a request from the famous King Louis XIV’S personal physician, Francois Chicoyneau.
After the death of Duport, the instrument was taken to Paris to be sold by a reserved dealer in string instruments. This was however not successful and the instrument ended up at a public auction which also failed. Later on, the Stradivarius brothers bought the instrument.
In the year 1812, Jean-Louis, a brother of Duport, allowed the great Napoleon Bonaparte to use the instrument after performing in a concert at the Tuileries Palace.
The Emperor was however reported to have roughly handled the cello and caused a visible dent on the instrument. Jeans- Louis later died in the year 1819 and the cello was passed on to his son. The instrument was later used as a chief model by an instrument maker, Jean-Baptise Vuillaume for his other cellos.
This instrument was later sold to Mstislav Rostropovich and upon his death, retained by his heirs. Very little information about the current whereabouts of the cello exists.
• Material used
Stradivarius instrument seemed to be made from a very special material people have been trying to discover for more than two hundred years. The cellist most likely used the forests of the Southern Italian Alps as his source for spruce and maple wood.
For decades, luthiers suspected that the wood has other special qualities which a researcher Hwang-ching Tai, confirmed. According to his research, Stradivarius must have employed a few artificial wood treatments to achieve the high-quality material the instrument was made from.
The research showed the possibilities of wood treatments like steaming, fuming, and sunlight to alter the chemical composition of the wood. Some signs that these chemical treatments were also seen. The study also showed that the material of the Stradivarius cello had raised levels of sodium, calcium, copper, and Zinc.
The Duport Stradivarius string element was worth twenty million US dollars. From the high quality and rare material to the powerful and still clear sound produced by the cello, the instrument was termed to be worth even more. With Aging, the wood increased the cello’s quality of sound increasing its worth to twenty-million.
Although Napoleon‘s dent on the cello is visible, this did not stop the high bids from wishing to acquire the instrument. Were it not for this dent, the instrument would have been worth a lot more.
The Most Lavish Cello Bow
A rare and one-of-a-kind cello bow by Francois Xavier Tourte, ca.1820 was worth 175,000 dollars. It was among the developed and modernized cello bow.
The maker was a well-known contributor to the development and design of the modern bow. He has made a number of superb bows for violin, viola, and cellos that have commanded very high prices for their excellent craftsmanship and appreciation by their players.
Tourte worked initially as a clockmaker until 1744 when he started making bows. His workshop later grew to be recognized among the best on the Quai de l’Ecole dates.
• Type of material
It is claimed that he used Pernambuco wood as the main wood material to craft the bows. This wood remains to be among the most used wood to craft professional bows today. Tourte’s bows were also claimed to be bent using heat. The bow generally has a usable hair length of around sixty-five centimeters and a balance point of nineteen centimeters from the frog.
This famous bow was also rubbed with pumice powder and oil as a form of furnishing. The bow had also screws and metal ferrules to allow adjustments of tension on the hair.
The bow generally has a usable hair length of around sixty-five centimeters and a balance point of nineteen centimeters from the frog. This famous bow was also rubbed with pumice powder and oil as a form of furnishing. The bow had also screws and metal ferrules to allow adjustments of tension on the hair.
Most Expensive cello (Infographic):
To conclude, the most lavish cello and bow were clearly extraordinary instruments whose worth grew with age. This also applies also to the cello bow.
From this article, an instrument was termed worthy and hence very valuable depending on a few factors like the origin. The cello, in particular, grew to glory mainly because of its maker Duport Stradivarius. He was a well-known and very experienced cello maker who also happened to come from a family of cello makers. This factor contributed a lot to the price of the Duport Stradivarius cello. This also applies to Tourte who was also a well-known and established bow maker. His works were well known and highly trusted by his players.
On that note, if you currently own a really good and quality cello and bow today, the chances of it being the next most expensive cellos in the world tomorrow are high. All you have to do is handle it with care and ensure its maintenance.