Musical Instruments & Memorabilia

The craftsmanship involved in the most prized musical instruments affects the quality of sound they produce as well as their appearance. For example, string instruments made by the Italian Stradivari family – and particularly Antonio Stradivari – in the 17th and 18th centuries are said to produce a sound that has never been replicated even in similar designs.

Those instruments created by Antonio during his ‘golden period’ (1700-1720) command particularly strong prices. More recent instruments, such as electric guitars played by pop music giants of the 20th century also pull in large prices – such as Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Stratocaster, which was bought for a Seattle museum for $2m.


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The sound of a William and Mary spinet sold for £5500 in Islington

19 August 2019

Relatively few English spinets from the 17th century survive but one surfaced at a Criterion auction in Islington. Loosely catalogued and estimated at just £100-200, it made £5500 (plus premium).

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McTear’s hosts first bagpipe auction to coincide with Scottish festival

13 August 2019

August in Scotland is famous for its programme of arts across The Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe events.

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How a saleroom can get into the right groove to offer an amphibious vehicle and a 12m sofa

17 July 2019

As an auction house, what sale format do you squeeze an amphibious vehicle or a 12m long sofa into? When it comes to the ‘weird and wonderful’, auctioneers often face a challenge.

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Brahms booms in vinyl revival

15 July 2019

The resurrection of vinyl continues apace as was evident when a large collection of classical records offered by Ledbury auction house John Goodwin (15% buyer’s premium) attracted specialist trade and private interest from all over the world.

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Musical boxes tune up in two auctions

15 July 2019

Two musical boxes catching the eye and ear among the small vertu sections at summer silver sales.

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Beatles' original 1962 management contract sold at auction

12 July 2019

The Beatles’ original management contract with Brian Epstein has been sold at Sotheby’s for £220,000 (plus premium).

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Why EM Ginn’s Expert sounded perfect at £8500

17 June 2019

The sale of a remarkable gramophone collection two years ago at the Cotswold Auction Company (20% buyer’s premium), in which an EMG gramophone took £6500, prompted the consignment of another large collection to the June 4 sale at the Cheltenham rooms.

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Collectors tune into Diss sale for mechanical music delights

03 June 2019

Best-seller and one of the biggest surprises at the white-glove sale of a mechanical music collection was a musical box, the catalogue entry of which could be summarised as ‘famous name, doesn’t work’.

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Abbey Road Studios recordings from 18 stars including Ed Sheeran come to auction at Spink

28 May 2019

Original master recordings from Abbey Road Studios of artists including Blondie, Ed Sheeran, Alanis Morissette and The Killers will be offered at auction in June.

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David Bowie’s rejected debut album tracks sell for double estimate figure at Merseyside auction

24 May 2019

Tracks recorded by David Bowie for his 1967 debut album that were later rejected have been sold at auction for a hammer price of £16,000.

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Madness donates costumes and memorabilia to Victoria and Albert Museum for theatre gallery

23 May 2019

To celebrate 40 years since the release of Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond’ - the 1979 debut album by the British ska-pop group - the V&A has unveiled a collection of memorabilia.

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Beatles 'Butcher' album cover sold for a record in Liverpool Fab Four memorabilia sale

17 May 2019

John Lennon’s personal and signed ‘Butcher’ cover Yesterday and Today album prototype from 1966 sold for a record-breaking £180,000 ($234,400), including premium, in an auction held in Liverpool.

Louis Majorelle and Victor Prouvé piano

Art Nouveau ‘Dying Swan’ piano emerges in Paris auction

13 May 2019

The upcoming Decorative Arts sale to be held by Tajan in Paris includes a number of pieces by one of the master craftsmen of the Art Nouveau movement – Louis Majorelle.

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Raise a glass to a Mozart note

29 April 2019

Short message to a ‘true friend’ after opera debut appearance sells at Berlin auction house.

Poul Henningsen’s grand piano

“I designed something entirely new” – early 1930s glass grand piano draws attention in Paris sale

22 April 2019

A Modernist grand piano from 1931 by the Danish designer Poul Henningsen was the toast of a dedicated Scandinavian design sale held by Artcurial in Paris.

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18th century harpsichord is the key lot at Bath auction

15 April 2019

With a documented provenance and inscribed by the maker Sébastien Garnier, Paris, 1747, a two-manual harpsichord was the top performer at the latest musical instruments sale held by Corsham, Bath, specialist Gardiner Houlgate (20% buyer’s premium).

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Elgar masterpiece found in autograph book snapped up at Midlands auction

01 April 2019

A rediscovered melody by Sir Edward Elgar has been bought by a private buyer at auction in Lichfield after it was found in an autograph book.

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McCartney’s English school book sells for £39,000 at auction in Merseyside

27 March 2019

The English Literature school book of The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney has been bought at auction for £39,000.

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Joy Division sale makes “unprecedented” results as Peter Hook sells huge archives

16 March 2019

In 1977, three years before his untimely death, Joy Division’s singer songwriter Ian Curtis wrote the lyrics to ‘Failures’: “Wise words and sympathy/Tell the story of our history.”

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Lost Elgar masterpiece found in autograph book is heard for the first time in 100 years as it heads to auction

14 March 2019

A rediscovered melody by Sir Edward Elgar will be offered at auction in Lichfield after it was found in an autograph book.

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