The Mail on Sunday

Fostering genius

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INSTRUMENT seller Florian Leonhard believes syndicates can offer an ideal solution for investors who want to own fine violins.

‘Top musicians starting their careers may not be able to afford a fine instrument so they must rely on other people to help them out,’ he says.

‘Patronage of the arts has been going on for hundreds of years – it is certainly nothing new. It can also provide a great way to make money.’

He runs several syndicates through his business, Florian Leonhard Fine Violins in Hampstead, north-west London, with investors putting in a minimum of £5,000 each for a share of a top musical instrument.

‘With violins worth at least £100,000 we calculate that investors have made average returns of 10.8 per cent a year over the past three decades,’ he says. ‘If the syndicate gets an up-and-coming musician who goes on to become famous, the value of the instrument may rise even further because a violin played by a well-known musician tends to become worth far more.’

If a violin has been owned by a famous virtuoso performer such as Yehudi Menuhin or Niccolo Paganini, the value instantly more than doubles.

Florian believes although making profits is a vital considerat­ion, most people in the syndicate get a bigger thrill from being able to help out a musician.

A typical syndicate is made of six investors each putting £25,000 towards buying an instrument.

When ‘shares’ are sold, the musician gets first refusal before the offer is opened up to other syndicate holders and finally to outsiders.

If you are buying as part of a syndicate, make sure that ownership and responsibi­lities for insurance are legally well defined.

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