It came to Humbert & Ellis among a box of items that a London auction house had catalogued in 2018 as ‘a quantity of various musical instruments’ worth about £800-1200 in total.
However, the Northamptonshire firm offered the pieces in its November 7 sale individually, giving the violin an estimate of £800-1200 alone.
According to the auction house, four phone bidders vied against “frantic” internet and room bidding. It sold for £22,000 plus 19.5% buyer’s premium.
Typically, labels carrying the names of well-known 17th century luthiers are spurious. However, in this case buyers did make a connection with Stainer who, as the label attests, worked in Absam. A clue to its quality was its fine-quality 19th century mahogany case.
The whole group of string instruments made a little over £37,000 hammer. They included a late 18th century French viola labelled for François Fent and a bow in a later velvet-lined case. It was knocked down for £10,500, while two lutes made £1700 and £1800.
Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert said: “Provincial auction houses continue to prove their relevance in the marketplace even for specialist items. Suffice to say we have since had a number of inquiries from potential violin vendors.”