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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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.


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…”


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.


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.


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.


Online bidding takes a bow

10 November 2008

THIS cello by William Forster, London c.1780 became the highest value lot sold through ATG's online bidding service when it brought £38,000 (plus 20 per cent buyer's premium) at musical instrument specialists Brompton's on November 3.

Beatles tape found in attic makes £10,000

18 August 2008

A previously unheard tape of a Beatles recording session, in which John Lennon and Paul McCartney break into giggles and crack jokes, has fetched £10,000 at Cameo auctioneers in Midgham, Berkshire.

Nat Temple horns for sale in Surrey

21 July 2008

Woking, Surrey auctioneers Barbers are to sell musical instruments belonging to the late Nat Temple (1913-2008) on August 4.

Private treaty sale beats auction record for violin

03 March 2008

Sotheby’s have announced the private treaty sale of a Guarneri del Gesu violin to the Russian businessman and collector, Maxim Viktorov.


£19,000 bird in the hand

28 August 2007

Kent’s Canterbury Auction Galleries were one of the few salerooms to hold a good quality art and antiques sale in August.

Lennon for sale

27 November 2006

A set of 38 individual original metal printing plates used for the illustrations for John Lennon’s first book, are to go under the hammer on December 2 at Dickins of Middle Claydon, Bucks.

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.


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.


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.