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.


A provincial Stradivari for £1m?

30 October 2006

A Stradivari violin, which has been played in concert halls all over the world, is being offered for sale by Corsham-based auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate in London on November 6.

Spink now have a musical string to their bow

12 October 2006

Spink have added musical instruments to their portfolio by taking an equity stake in Brompton’s Auctioneers. They will operate from Spink’s newly expanded premises at 29 Southampton Row in London WC1, starting with a sale on November 6.

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Accessible Sneltzer pipes a £19,000 tune

27 February 2006

As reported in ATG No 1724, January 28, Kent Auction Galleries (15% buyer’s premium) of Folkestone were selling this mid-18th century organ by John Sneltzer on February 11 on behalf of The Caldecott Foundation, a charitable organisation.

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Style and substance: how multiple attractions helped piano hit high note

04 January 2005

STROHMENGER’s stylish Art Deco pianos are self-evidently pieces with huge crossover appeal. Being chic furnishings as well as useful musical instruments, they tend to give strong performances in the saleroom when they appear.

Stolen instruments appeal

08 September 2004

THE owners of a mid-18th century cello by Tomasso and Lorenzo Carcassi of Florence have appealed for its safe return following a theft in North Finchley.

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A case in point

18 August 2004

ART case pianos, as their name implies, are instruments with very decorative cases painted or elaborately inlaid, and usually one-off commissions.

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PREVIEW

13 July 2004

LEOMINSTER auctioneer Brightwells will offer the lifetime collection of recorded sound enthusiast Don Watson, in a single vendor sale on July 29.

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PREVIEW

13 July 2004

LEOMINSTER auctioneer Brightwells will offer the lifetime collection of recorded sound enthusiast Don Watson, in a single vendor sale on July 29.

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Monzani flute plays £2200

22 June 2004

HIGHLIGHT of the Collectors’ Sale conducted by Keys (10% buyer’s premium) in Aylsham was this silver-mounted ivory flute by Monzani.

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At £4000, the genuine Beatles for sale

15 June 2004

THE large sums of money rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collectors are prepared to part with for a complete set of Beatles autographs inevitably means the market is peppered with fakes. The watertight provenance of an early Beatles extended play record, Twist and Shout, Parlophone, 1963, signed to the sleeve by the Fab Four, was key to its success at Biddle & Webb’s (15% buyer’s premium) 511-lot sale of toys and juvenilia in Birmingham on May 21.

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Specialties of the house pull in the offbeat enthusiasts

09 June 2004

THE way Bonhams’ (17.5% buyer's premium) empire has adapted to the received wisdom that specialisation is a key to today’s macro auction environment is to have niche markets catered for at different outposts. Among the areas catered for at the Midlands branch at Knowle are such widely known ones as mechanical music and railwayana and, in ascending degree of arcane nature, wireless sets, optical instruments, firemarks, truncheons and tipstaffs.

Formby ukelele turns out nice for collector at £1750

11 May 2004

IN the centennial year of his birth in 1904, a provenance to George Formby came with the sale of a ukelele which sold for £1750 (estimate £100-150) at Gorringes Lewes sale on April 27. The C.F. Martin & Co. 3K lte ukelele was bought by Bernard Dyke, a past president of the George Formby Society. The uke came to sale via the vendor’s father, an Arthur Rank chairman in the late 30s/early 40s to whom George presented it at a film preview at a Rank cinema in Essex.

An underrated library chair is a £5000 best seller

15 April 2004

OF the 830 lots offered in Fieldings (12.5% buyer's premium) February 28 sale, a painting provided the highest price but a chair the biggest surprise.

The king's harp maker plucks at Norfolk bidders’ purse strings

16 March 2004

LARGELY unknown outside the world of harpists, the name of the celebrated Dublin maker John Egan is guaranteed to tug at the heart and purse strings of aficionados when one of his harps makes a rare appearance for sale as this one, right, did at the February 25 collectors sale held by Aylsham auctioneers Keys (15% buyer’s premium).

Loophonium to be auctioned by Sotheby's

23 October 2003

Included amongst the more venerable 18th century flutes, 19th century hurdy gurdies and 17th century harpsicords and spinets that make up the l03-lot sale of early musical instruments to be held at Sotheby’s Bond Street on November 25, is this unusual piece of more recent vintage.

Still in the Fab Four’s shadow

05 September 2003

Rock and Pop memorabilia: Memorabilia relating to The Beatles may routinely command the highest prices in the Rock and Pop collectors’ market, but Bonhams Knightsbridge (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) gambled that the Fab Four’s enthusiasts would also be interested in the 95 lots relating to Stuart Sutcliffe, the fifth Beatle, in their 505-lot entertainment auction on July 29.

Cupboard love

12 August 2003

Given that they were sold in such massive quantities, Beatles singles remain relatively common and few command more than £10-20 each – unless of course they have a more personal connection with the Fab Four.

Is this the luckiest blow of all?

28 January 2003

A £5600 National Art Collections Fund grant has enabled the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments at Oxford University to keep a handsome Baroque trumpet with a legend attached.

Blowing its own trumpet at last

28 November 2002

In the warm dirge of the Victorian brass band, this serpentine instrument was king of the pumping bassline. But the sad journey of the ophicleide from fame to obscurity in a little under 50 years illustrated the pace of musical change in the 19th century.

Fab Four at a fab price

21 November 2002

WHILE the bubble may be bursting in some fields of collecting, Beatlemania looks like remaining a safe bet for a long time to come. The latest eye-popping bid for a piece of the Fab Four came on eBay when this 1968 Yellow Submarine bubble gum store display box, right, complete with 40 original, mint condition Beatles gum packs made £15,100.

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