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.


The Steinway piano being sold by Abbey Road studios

Steinway piano leads key sales of musical instruments

14 June 2016

One of the main attractions at Piano Auctions’ upcoming quarterly auction at the Conway Hall in London on June 23 is this Steinway with celebrity status.

Steinway grand piano at Chrisite’s

Steinway grand piano in high demand at Sting’s £3m Christie’s sale

29 February 2016

A Steinway grand piano sold for a double-estimate £95,000 on February 24 when Christie’s King Street held a £3m, 146-lot sale of items from the former Queen Anne’s Gate home of musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.

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Rare Boccaccio manuscript at Florence Biennale

18 September 2015

Florence’s longstanding Antiques Fair, the ‘Biennale Internationale dell’ Antiquariato di Firenze’, opens next week in the city’s 17th century Palazzo Corsini, running from September 26 to October 4.

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Sweet music makes £120,000

17 March 2015

Bath auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate (20% buyer’s premium) set a new house record on March 12 with the sale of a guitar by the celebrated French luthier Jean-Baptiste Voboam (1658-after 1731) for £120,000.

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Space photos star in the saleroom

13 March 2015

“Most of us will never experience space, which explains why space-flown items are in such high demand. Their travels imbue them with an almost mystical aura.”

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Handel manuscript emerges at Berlin auction

11 March 2015

Only one other major George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) manuscript has come up for auction in the last 40 years, so Stargardt in Berlin can be assured of an international audience for the extensive autograph work they will offer on March 24-25.

The model for all electric guitars comes to auction

09 February 2015

The Black Beauty, the prototype for all Gibson Les Paul guitars, will appear at Guernsey Auctions’ February 19 sale in New York.

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Bidders fly to Hampshire to hear music box sing at £22,000

25 July 2014

Selborne, Hampshire, auctioneer Hannams produced a YouTube video to promote the presence of this very early key-wind musical box by Nicole Frères in their inaugural sale.

Sale date set for the stolen Stradivarius

13 December 2013

The Stradivarius violin which was stolen from Euston station in 2010 and recovered earlier this year will be offered at Tarisio auctioneers this month.

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Titanic violin sells for a record £900,000

24 October 2013

The violin played by Titanic bandmaster Wallace Hartley as the ship slid beneath the waves on the morning of April 15, 1912, was always going to a) attract massive worldwide interest and b) bring in the big bucks at auction.

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Matteo Sellas guitar strikes a £48,000 chord

04 October 2013

There was a great deal of international interest, particularly from institutions, when this five-course baroque guitar by Matteo Sellas of Venice, from the second quarter of the 17th century, was offered at Gardiner Houlgate’s September 19-20 sale in Bath.

Courts hand down sentences to auction house raiders

16 September 2013

The organiser of a string of burglaries that targeted various auction houses claimed a Klotz violin taken from a saleroom and then discovered at his home had actually been found in a skip.

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Amati violin hits the right note at inaugural auction

23 May 2013

The inaugural sale held by new London-based musical instrument auctioneers Ingles & Hayday generated a £2.26m total from 150 lots.

Rediscovered Beach Boys archive comes to auction with $10m price tag

02 April 2013

With a $10m estimate, what is being billed as the most important single lot of rock and pop memorabilia ever to come up for auction goes on view in London on April 18.

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Elvis and The Beatles top charts again

02 April 2013

If ever there was a single record that could lay claim to truly starting the Rock and Roll era, it must be Elvis Presley’s first single ‘That’s all right (Mama)’, recorded in Memphis in July 5, 1954.

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Buffs tune in to Marconi’s answer to a radio rival’s jibe

18 January 2013

When in 1903 the Marconi Wireless Company began a public demonstration of its systems, an unwelcome message began to appear via the Morse printer: “There was a young man from Italy, who diddled the public so prettily…”

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Swiss musical bird box in Hampshire

21 December 2012

Included in George Kidner’s sale in Lymington, Hampshire on January 10, is this 19th century Swiss enamelled musical bird box decorated with landscape scenes.

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George Harrison’s jacket tops The Beatles lots at Bonhams

15 December 2012

When it comes to rock and pop memorabilia, and The Beatles in particular, if the provenance is not only right but of the first magnitude, prices can soar.

£110,000 of antique violin bows go missing

22 October 2010

A COLLECTION of 11 antique violin bows valued at £110,000 is now feared stolen after they were left on a train.

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Soul single sets new record price

20 May 2009

FRANK Wilson's Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) is generally ranked by enthusiasts of Soul music as a very good rather than a great single, but in the collecting community it has acquired legendary status. Only two copies of the original pressing appear to have survived.

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