Ex-Metzler executive forms musical instruments investment firm with Stradivarius expert

Musical instruments seen as a cultural investment for the long-term

Would the ultimate sustainable investment be one that delivered a very personal return on a regular basis? An asset that not only supports young talent and artistic endeavour, but is also a slice of history?

Such a thought has lead Christian Reister, a former Business Development Manager at Metzler, to turn to stringed instruments – violins, violas and cellos – as vehicles for investors who want to make an impact more personal than environmental.

“Investors in great string instruments benefit from the fact that these instruments are tangible assets, they are mobile goods and that the appreciation from musicians, collectors and investors grows continuously,” he explains.

After a 10-year stint at the German fund manager with a strong focus on responsible investment, Reister met Jost Thöne, a violin dealer and publisher of several books about instrument-making, through his violinist wife, and was struck at how high-class instruments increase so steadily in value over decades or even centuries.

Thöne is also a world-renowned expert in the great master instrument maker, Antonio Stradivari, whose finest pieces made in the 17th and 18th centuries can fetch tens of millions at auction.With many of the Italian master’s estimated 650 pieces lost, those that remain – and those of other masters – are valuable and appreciating assets.

The two combined to form Violin Assets, a venture that allows investors to buy a stake in high-end instruments (which, it’s hoped are going to increase in both acoustic quality and value) and, if they chose, to lend these out to young musicians.

There are different types of investment and return available to such investors, Reister explains, as students will often perform concerts for their investor patrons.

Though it caters more to private backers, Violin Assets is grabbing more institutional attention of late and several banks already have sizeable instrument collections. Reister expands: “For foundations and companies, the aspect of patronage is very attractive: besides benefitting from the stability of the investment, they value the aspect of corporate citizenship.”

All in all, it’s an investment that can help to preserve cultural heritage and support the arts.

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