10 Unusual Investments



Stradivarius, Fender, Gibson, Steinway. Such names are music to the ears of investors. The rarity and quality of various types of musical instruments, especially violins made by Antonio Stradivari, are often worth millions. Stradivari made 1,100 violins in the 17th century; 650 still survive. A 1699 Stradivarius sold at a public auction in 2005 for $2.03 million. The amount could have been higher had the sale been private [source: Roney].

If a Stradivarius is too high-end, a good provenance can make any ordinary instrument worth thousands. Anyone can buy a Fender or Les Paul for a song, but put that same guitar in the hands of a rock star, and the price balloons. For example, Eric Clapton paid a few hundred dollars and put together a makeshift guitar using parts from other guitars. The instrument sold for $959,500 in 2004 [source: Roney]. In 2000, British pop star George Michael bought the Steinway piano that John Lennon used to compose his hit "Imagine." Michael paid $2.08 million. In 2004, Christie's London auctioned a part of The Who's Keith Moon's drum set for $252,487 [source: Roney].

When buying an instrument keep these things in mind: the maker; the quality; the condition; and the history. The return on your investment will be melodious [source: Roney].

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Auction News Network. "1943 Penny sells for $1.7 million." Sept. 24, 2010. (Oct., 2010)http://www.auctionnewsnetwork.com/1943-penny-sells-for-1-7-million
  • Your Credit Advisor. "A Beginner's Guide to Investing in Art." 2007. (Oct., 2010)http://www.yourcreditadvisor.com/blog/2007/10/a_beginners_gui.html
  • Bamberger, Allan. "How to Collect Art Like a Pro - Building a Collection." ArtBusiness.com. 2009. (Oct., 2010)http://www.artbusiness.com/collectpro.html
  • Chatzky, Sherman Jean. "Buy Low, Drink High: How to Invest in Wine." CNN Money.com. August 1, 1998. (Oct., 2010) http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/1998/08/01/246611/index.htm
  • CNN.com. "Rare Comic of Superman debut fetches $1.5 million." March 30, 2010. (Oct., 2010)http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-30/entertainment/superman.comic_1_action-comics-comic-book-superman-book?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ
  • Husfloen, Kyle. Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2007. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 2006.
  • Invesments.co.uk. "Investing in Antiques." 2010. (Oct., 2010) http://www.investments.co.uk/other-investments/antiques.html
  • Kat, Gregory. "Declaration of Independence, Rare Original Copy, Found in British National Archives." The Huffington Post. July 2, 2009. (Oct., 2010)http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/02/declaration-of-independen_n_224721.html
  • KWTX.com. "Harry Potter First Edition Fetches Thousands." June 26, 2007. (Oct., 2010) http://www.kwtx.com/nationalnews/headlines/8188637.html
  • Lavery, Brian. "Ireland Buys a Trove of Joyce Notebooks." The New York Times. May 31, 2002. (Oct., 2010)http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10C1EFA3D5E0C728FDDAC0894DA404482&ref=james_joyce
  • Lubove, Seth. "Classic Cars Can Cost Millions, but are they Good Investments?" The Washington Post, Sept. 5, 2010.
  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/04/AR2010090400057.html
  • Miller, Judith. "Antiques Price Guide." DK Publishing, New York: 2004.
  • NBC Sports. "Honus Wagner Card Sold for $2.35 million." Feb. 27, 2007. (Oct., 2010).http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/17355488/
  • Passmore, Nick. "World's Most Expensive Wines." Forbes.com 2006. (Oct., 2010) http://www.forbes.com/2003/11/19/cx_np_1119feat.html
  • Rao, Jessica. "Eight Rules to Remember About Memorabilia." CNBC.com. Aug. 31, 2009. (Oct., 2010)http://www.cnbc.com/id/32329284
  • Reif, Rita. "Declaration of Independence Found in a $4 Picture Frame." The New York Times. April 3, 1991. (Oct., 2010)http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/03/arts/declaration-of-independence-found-in-a-4-picture-frame.html
  • Richards, Megs. "Coin Collecting Fun, but Dubious Investment." The San Diego Union-Tribune. January 30, 2005. (Oct., 2010) http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050130/news_mz1b30coin.html
  • Roney, Maya. "Connoisseur's Guide: Most Expensive Musical Instruments." Forbes.com. April, 11, 2006. (Oct., 2010)
  • http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/10/expensive-musical-instruments_cx_mr_0411musicinst.html
  • Sports Memorabilia.com. "A Comprehensive Guide to Collecting Sports Memorabilia." 2010. (Oct., 2010)http://www.sportsmemorabilia.com/resources/sports-memorabilia-101.html
  • Stock Market Newsletters. "Wine Investment for Portfolio Diversification: How Collecting Fine Wines Can Yield Greater Returns than Stocks and Bonds Reviewed." 2010. (Oct., 2010)http://stockmarketnewsletters.stockstackup.com/review-wine-investment-for-portfolio-diversification-how-collecting-fine-wines-can-yield-greater-returns-than-stocks-and-bonds-sale-and-discount/
  • United States Mint. 2010. (Oct., 2010) http://catalog.usmint.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=15536&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=44004
  • The Independent. "You Really Can Judge Rare Books by Their Dust-Jackets." May 22, 2004. (Oct., 2010)http://www.independent.co.uk/money/spend-save/you-really-can-judge-rare-books-by-their-dustjackets-564197.html
  • Wong, Stephen. "Smithsonian Baseball: Inside the World's Finest Private Collections." HarperCollins Publishing, New York.


When Is It OK to Leave Kids Unequal Inheritance?

When Is It OK to Leave Kids Unequal Inheritance?

HowStuffWorks finds out if and when leaving more money to one child than the others is a good idea and how to cut down on the hurt feelings that might result.