Owned by a family in Rome for the last hundred years or so, the vendor had no idea about the cello’s significance and was surprised to learn it was valued at £120,000-160,000 for the London sale.
Giovanni Grancino was part of a family of Milanese luthiers, working with his father Andrea Grancino and his brother Francesco. His early designs were influenced by Niccolò Amati of Cremona but his later forms are more similar to Stradivari.
His cellos were often larger than his contemporary's but are deemed to reflect a level of craftsmanship and produce a quality of sound that surpassed instruments made by rival Italian makers.
On the day, the example at Brompton’s drew a decent bidding battle and eventually sold at £145,000.
The bow found inside the cello’s case also turned out be a rare find – a gold-and-tortoiseshell mounted cello bow by François Nicolas Voirin, Paris c.1870. Estimated at £20,000-30,000, it sold at £28,000, a record for the French maker.
Elsewhere at the sale held at the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street on June 27, a separately consigned violin by Gennaro Gagliano made in Naples in the mid-18th century sold for £130,000. It had been stored in a loft since 1978 and was discovered by the children of the late owner.
The overall sale total was £2.29m including premium and the top lot was a violin by Nicolo Amati that sold at £210,000 against a £200,000-300,000 pitch.
The buyer’s premium was 20%.