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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Roll out the barrel organ

09 May 2022

Until the widespread advent of the wireless, barrel organs were a familiar sight (and sound) on the streets of Berlin and other major German cities.

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Bingham collection at Olympia Auctions includes Tibetan ritual trumpet

02 May 2022

This 19th century Tibetan conch shell ritual trumpet, known as a dung-dkar, forms part of the Tony Bingham collection of musical instruments.

2540NEDI Edit Beatles Poster Heritage

Beatles concert poster from 1966 sold at Dallas auction house sets a new high

20 April 2022

A bright yellow poster promoting the Beatles’ August 23, 1966, concert at New York’s Shea Stadium has sold for a record $220,000 (£169,400) at the Heritage auction in Dallas.

Christopher Butterworth shop

Let there be light and music – two sales from well-known dealers come to auction this week

19 April 2022

Items from Pimlico Road dealer Christopher Butterworth and LAPADA dealer Tony Bingham are coming to auction in London and Essex.

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Sound purchases in Canada

28 March 2022

The Edison Class M cylinder phonograph was initially intended for business dictation but in time entertainment became its main role.

Lute music manuscript

UK government blocks 17th century lute music collection from leaving the country

15 March 2022

A temporary export bar has been placed on an early 17th century manuscript of lute music in the hope a buyer in the UK can be found.

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Musical box tunes up in Kansas

07 March 2022

This Regina disc and double comb-operated upright musical box is expected to be one of the highlights when Woody Auction in Kansas offers the collection of David and Marlene Howard from Ohio on March 19.

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Touch of luxury from Palais Royale

14 February 2022

The Palais Royale built for Cardinal Richelieu in 1629 had a variety of uses over the years but in the 18th and early 19th century was rebuilt as a place for public recreation and social gathering.

Musical box by François Nicole

Pick of the week: Nicole musical boxes to get your teeth into

13 December 2021

François Nicole (b.1766), the Geneva-based pioneer of the key-wind musical box, is thought to have made around 440 boxes during his working life, but only around 60 are known today.

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Playtime in the saleroom at Hartleys

22 November 2021

Top names in their different fields, ages and markets, Wurlitzer and Armand Marseilles were the star makers at Hartleys (17.5% buyer’s premium).

Rolling Stones poster

Auction record for Rolling Stones poster

04 November 2021

A rare concert poster promoting The Rolling Stones’ run at the Windsor R&B club in the early Sixties sold for £30,000 on October 28.

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Steel string guitar strikes a cord in Lincolnshire auction

01 November 2021

Bought in 1952 by a semi-pro Skegness musician who played with East Coast seaside entertainers, this steel string guitar got a big show of hands at Louth auction house John Taylors (18% buyer’s premium).

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Pick of the week: Gramophone hits all the right notes

27 October 2021

Emile Berliner (1851-1921), a German clerk in a Washington DC haberdashery, is credited with inventing both the first commercially successful disc record and the first machine to play it.

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Sensational Tannoy speaker emerges in a sleeper trio in Dorset

30 August 2021

Only a handful of companies have created products with sufficient impact that their brand names become generic descriptions for objects of their type.

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Barn find jukebox could be golden oldie

30 August 2021

A classic ‘barn find’ piece, this somewhat dilapidated jukebox was spotted as a potential golden oldie at Gardiner Houlgate (22% buyer’s premium).

Pleyel grand piano

Piano restorer David Winston’s ‘unique’ collection comes to auction at Dreweatts

18 August 2021

Newbury saleroom Dreweatts is to offer an impressive private collection of rare pianos in the autumn.

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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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