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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Piano and stool from 1901 Glasgow Exhibition surfaces at eclectic Ayrshire summer sale

05 July 2021

What auctioneer Michael Callan called “a modest mid terrace town house in Irvine, Ayrshire” was the source of one of the star lots of a recent Thomas R Callan (20% buyer’s premium) sale in Ayr.

Royal Academy of Music

Music academy promises historical instruments will be kept

31 May 2021

The Royal Academy of Music has said it has no plans to sell or dispose of any of its historic instruments after national media reported it was looking into ‘decolonialising’ its collection.

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Bureau cabinet rated highly as Mainz ‘masterpiece’ example

31 May 2021

Distinctive bureau cabinet form could have been intended for presentation to the guild.

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Music box plays a big £27,000 part in auction

10 May 2021

John Gresham was a third-generation member of a wealthy Hull timber-importing family.

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Galway silver shines in Lewes auction

19 April 2021

The West as well as the East made a major contribution to the success of Gorringe’s £1m sale on March 30 where, overall, 86% of the 593 lots sold.

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Model 1080 could be a sound investment

12 April 2021

In 1935, Swiss designer Paul Fuller, who had emigrated to the US after the First World War, joined the Rudolf Wurlitzer Company as their chief designer.

Two gramophones

Collection Focus: Living and laughing out loud

22 March 2021

Collector’s daughter describes what it was like to grow up amid huge musical machines

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Wurlitzer steams into action

15 March 2021

Mechanical music will be going under the hammer on March 20 as part of the Miller & Miller auction in New Hamburg, Ontario.

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British musical Leppard spotted in Indiana

15 March 2021

Though a Bösendorfer grand piano topped bidding at $42,500 (£31,250) in a January 16 sale, the main attractions for many came from a different source.

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Howzat for an intriguing portrait

15 March 2021

Young cricket player stars among the varied lots from estate of journalist and author

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Some buys have all the pluck

01 March 2021

Lacking the glitter of a former rock star owner, this Fender Stratocaster sold on the traditional antiques virtues of quality, age and condition.

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Debut three-day sale graced by an aristocratic selection

21 December 2020

In playing condition but with enough problems to be catalogued as ‘sold as seen’, a Nicole Frères brass inlaid music box was one of the unexpected stars of the first three-day sale to be held at Ripon auction house Elstob & Elstob (22% buyer’s premium).

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Elvis Presley’s 18ct Corum Buckingham watch to be offered at Sworders this month

02 November 2020

A watch worn many times by the king of rock and roll at the peak of his career comes for sale at Sworders this month.

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Rare first pressing of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ album signed by band members sells at seven-times estimate at auction

20 October 2020

A rare first pressing of The Who’s My Generation album has sold at seven-times its top estimate at auction in Hertfordshire.

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Gramophone bought by the Rothschild family for Waddesdon Manor comes to auction

14 October 2020

A rare gramophone believed to have been bought by James de Rothschild (1878-1957) of the Rothschild banking dynasty, for the family home of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, is coming to auction next week.

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Unreleased vinyl of a demo recording by David Bowie comes to auction

22 July 2020

Wessex Auction Rooms in Chippenham is offering a 1966 demo recording by David Bowie on an acetate disc.

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Flog It! presenter and dealer Paul Martin teams up with auction house for NHS charity auction

13 June 2020

Former Flog It! presenter and dealer Paul Martin and auction house Dawsons have launched an auction to raise funds for NHS charities.

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Rare phonograph ready to play in Cologne sale

08 June 2020

The Parisian clockmaker Henri Lioret (1848-1938) entered the market for ‘talking machines’ in an unconventional fashion – his first patented device of 1893 was a talking doll.

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Export-blocked 18th century harpsichord bought by Gainsborough’s House museum

20 May 2020

A harpsichord that was sold at The Canterbury Auction Galleries in 2018 to a US buyer and later barred from export by the government has been saved for the nation by Gainsborough’s House museum.

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Pick of the week: Into battle armed with bagpipes

18 May 2020

As the Scottish regiments went over the top on July 1, 1916 – the fateful First Day of the Somme – they were led into battle by the wail of bagpipes.

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