x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tips for would-be buyers of music memorabilia

Separate your sentimental collectibles from the pieces that will bring a return on your investment.

Buy the best

The most sought-after musical instruments, such as Stradivarius violins, hold their value in the long term. Even in the more fickle investment market for 1960s instruments owned by famous rock stars, guitars owned by top performers will hold value better than less sought-after items.

Take a bow

More frugal investors should consider buying a rare violin bow. According to auction houses, there is a growing market for these items, and some 19th-century bows can achieve six-figure sums.

Beware of trivia

While guitars from groups such as the Beatles are rising in value, the market is littered with less sought-after items such as Bob Dylan harmonicas. Still, items such as broken guitar parts can achieve surprisingly large sums.

Listen to the music

Musical instruments relate purely to an artistic medium. Purchasing a Stradivarius without being able to recognise its tone would be like buying paintings without being able to see them. Even in the case of pop guitars, a knowledge of the 1960s and 1970s rock music scene is essential to make informed purchases.

Find provenance

Proving the history of any instrument is crucial to its investment value. In the case of high-value classic guitars, it is important to be able to spot fakes. The market is littered with items with a dubious or disputed history.