2010 SOLD 3.8 M RMB yuan including premium
It is unique, and it could even be considered unbelievable, to find on the market a musical instrument more than one thousand years old. Yet the Chinese zither for sale by Poly International Auction on June 4 in Beijing is dated to the Tang Dynasty or to the period of anarchy known as the Five Dynasties that followed the fall of the Tang.
This is a guqin (ancient stringed instrument), and more specifically one of its most common variants, the qixianqin (seven-stringed instrument). 1.18 m high, 19 cm wide, it is close to the zither by its flat sound box, 5 cm deep only. It is lacquered in brown, with Chinese inscriptions on the back.
The music goes back to immemorial time, and our time has not the privilege of harmony and refinement. The guqin was the instrument of the wise men, and is often associated with Confucius.
This instrument is estimated 2.8 million RMB.
POST SALE COMMENT
The oldest of the four string instruments of the sale has been sold 3.8 MRMB including premium. This is the lot which I described in my article.
A little more recent, a qin from Song period was sold 5.8 MRMB. Still closer to our time, a Yuan instrument got 2.5 MRMB and a Ming one 5 MRMB. These prices include premium.
Without being an expert in Chinese sales, I think that this set was exceptional.
1111 The Water flowing over Jade
Music, especially the variant of zither named qin, is associated with Confucius. Huizong reformed the musical liturgy and had made a very large number of qin. The culmination of his effort for modernizing the Confucianism was the creation of the Hall of Great Perfection or Dachengdian inaugurating the fourth era of the reign, Zhenghe, in 1111 according to our calendar.
The qin is a large lacquered instrument that is played by laying it horizontally on a table. The classic version includes seven strings and several points of harmony that accentuate the subtlety of the music.
Extremely important in Chinese culture, the qin is the first of the four treasures of the scholar, preceding Chinese go, calligraphy and ink painting. It is often dated and named.
On May 28 in Hong Kong , Christie's sells an imperial qin made for the Dachengdian in the fifth month of the first year of Zhenghe. Its name is inscribed as Qingliu Jiayu meaning the sound of water flowing over jade. It is estimated HK $ 7M.
Another qin made nine years later for the same emperor was sold in December 2010 by Poly for RMB yuan 137M including premium (U.S. $ 20.7 million according to the conversion rate of the time).
1575 A Viola da Gamba from Brescia
2010 SOLD 540 K$ including premium
This piece is neither a big violin nor a small cello: it is a viola. It can possibly also be used as a viola da gamba, a word of Italian origin meaning that it has to be held on the lap or between the legs, unlike the violin.
Its earliness is assessed by the fact that it has only four strings, and is confirmed by a dendrochronology test mentioned by the catalog of Christie's. Its resemblance to the violin is typical of the sixteenth century Italian viola. It is illustrated in the press release shared by AuctionPublicity.
Its dating to 1575 is consistent with its label identifying the instrument maker Gasparo da Salo, working in Brescia, who was the best viola manufacturer in his time. Not far away, in Cremona, Andrea Amati was already working to perfect the violin.
This instrument is for sale in New York on April 28. It is estimated $ 250K.
POST SALE COMMENT
This viola had been used by a professional, which is an assurance of its good condition. It was better than its estimate, and was sold 540 K $ including premium.
The other top lot of the sale got the same price, 540 K $ including premium. It was a violin made by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini in Milan around 1753. It had been estimated $ 350K.
1659 The Tyrolean Violin
2011 SOLD 205 K£ including premium
The violin was long a specialty of Italy, with two main centers of production, Brescia and Cremona, both in Lombardy.The very skilled Nicolo Amati assured the supremacy of Cremona, where he had two famous followers, Stradivari andGuarneri.
This type of instrument had great qualities that destined it to spread throughout Europe. The Austrian Jacob Stainer, also a pupil of the Amati, is the earliest and most famous violin factor of the Austro-German school.
Nicolo Amati became the true inventor of the modern violin when he was able to increase the power of sound. Stainerleft Cremona for the region of Innsbruck in 1650, too early for taking advantage of the Amati development. For thisreason, they are more enjoyed by connoisseurs of ancient chamber music than by concertists.
On March 8 in London, Sotheby's sells a violin by Stainer in superb condition. It has retained its original handwritten label with the date 1659. Considered for nearly a century as the most prestigious example of its class, it is nicknamed The King.
Such praises let assume that the estimate, £ 100K, is too low.
POST SALE COMMENT
The estimate was too low, as I had supposed. The violin was sold £ 205K including premium.
music from brescia to cremona
Giovanni Paolo Maggini moved to Brescia in 1580 where he learned his craft from Gasparo da Salo. He is one of the luthiers who ensured the success of the violin as a concert instrument, superseding the viola and the viola da gamba.
On May 11 in London, Bonhams sells at lot 210 a violin that had long been attributed to Maggini.
The analysis by dendrochronology shows that its woods were cut in 1669 and 1671. The label inscribed to Maggini, who died in 1630 or 1631, is apocryphal or refers to an unlikely extension of activity of his workshop.
This later dating is actually an advantage because this instrument was made in the period when the quality of the wood enabled to execute in Cremona the best violins of all time. Its sound and power are the result of Maggini's design improved by the know how of the luthiers of Cremona in the last years of the seventeenth century. Experts are tempted to compare it with the work of Andrea Guarneri.
I invite you to play the video shared and commented by Bonhams, in which the violin is played by the late prodigy Edith Volckaert.
1682 The Grand Amati
2012 SOLD 300 K£ including premium
The Amati family made the glory of Cremona, a small town in the Po valley. The founder of the dynasty, Andrea Amati, was one of the inventors of the violin. His grandson Nicolo brought considerable improvements to this instrument just at the time when it really began to prevail within the orchestras.
Nicolo Amati had an enormous influence, first on Stainer and then on Stradivarius and Guarnerius.
He had something else in common with Stradivarius: he worked until an old age. The Amati violin for sale on March 6 in London by Sotheby's is dated 1682, while the master was 86.
This violin is a "grand" Amati (i grandi violini Amati), the most prestigious model of the master. It is made of spruce from the Alps, with a beautiful golden yellow varnish which is typical of his productions.
It is estimated £ 250K. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
This instrument was sold £ 300K including premium, in the region of its lower estimate.
1690 Guarneri and Son
2019 SOLD for $ 1.27M including premium
From the mid-1680s Giuseppe demonstrated an exceptional skill. Andrea continues to validate the instruments made in their workshop until his death in 1698. Giuseppe 'filius Andreae' is recognized as the best competitor to Stradivari.
The violas made by Guarneri are very rare. They are divided into two periods : four instruments known from 1660 to 1676 plus three from 1690 to 1697. The last three meet the tradition of bearing the name of performers who owned them : Josefowitz, Nobuko Imai, Primrose. They undoubtedly benefit from Giuseppe's know-how and are extremely similar to each other with dimensions considered as ideal.
The Primrose Guarneri viola was sold on July 5, 2012 by Tarisio in a private auction whose result was not disclosed. The Tarisio Auctions page in Wikipedia nevertheless announces a price above $ 4M for this transaction. It is famous for the power of its tone and William Primrose often used it in his recordings.
On May 16 in New York, Tarisio sells the Josefowitz Guarneri viola, lot 45 with a starting bid of $ 800K and a higher estimate of $ 1.2M. Here is the link to the website of the auction house. This instrument has the label of Andrea Guarneri in Cremona with the date of 1690 which is highly credible.
1708 A Cello in Milan
Despite the high quality of its productions, Cremona did not keep the exclusive manufacture of upscale stringed instruments. By the mid-seventeenth century, Stainer transfers to Tyrol the Italian know-how.
Around 1690, Milan became sustainably the main competitor of Cremona. Much later the big city will become one of the most important locations in the career of Guadagnini.
Giovanni Grancino is the best among the earliest makers in Milan. He is at first inspired by Niccolo Amati. His instruments are varied: violas, violins and basses, and his cellos are famous for their clarity of sound. He developed his own recipe of a pale yellow varnish.
A cello by Grancino is estimated above £ 250K, for sale online from London by Amati on March 25. It has a Grancino label dated 1708, one year before the death of the master. The dendrochronological analysis indicates that the woods were taken twenty years before that date.
1716 The Carillons of the Qing
2019 SOLD for € 670K including premium
Music is the supreme art that offers a perfect interpretation of all elements of nature including yin and yang. The imperial bianzhong are dated, as are the guqin.
In the Qing era, an imperial carillon is composed of sixteen bells including four repeated tones in high and low octaves. The gilt bronze bells are decorated with dragons in high relief.
On May 27, 2009, Christie's sold for HK $ 45.5M including premium a pair of 30 cm high bells giving the 4th and 11th notes, dated Kangxi wushisi nian shi corresponding to 1715 CE.
On December 16 in Paris (Hôtel Drouot), Tessier et Sarrou sell a 21 cm high bell dated Kangxi bing shen nian zhi corresponding to 1716 CE. It is set for the huang zhong which is the basic tone of the scale. The dragons are imperial, with five claws per paw.
Cette exceptionnelle cloche impériale bianzhong de la dynastie Qing fait sa première apparition sur le marché de l'art depuis 1884 !— Drouot (@Drouot) November 29, 2019
À découvrir dès aujourd'hui et jusqu'au 5 décembre dans l'exposition "Oeuvres Choisies" à Drouot.
En vente chez @TSarrou le 16 décembre. pic.twitter.com/V3D8n2vZrc
1717 A CEllo made by Stradivari
The autumn sale of Tarisio will take place in New York and London from 21 to 23 October. The auction house specializes in musical instruments.
Upon entering their site, I was attracted by the announcement of the masterpiece of this sale, a cello made by Stradivari in 1717. Its last owner was Amaryllis Fleming. The instrument comes from her succession and will be sold for the benefit of the Royal College of Music in London.
The auction house tells us that the date of 1717 is in the best period for Stradivari, and that the model of this cello is the same as those of Yo Yo-Ma and Rostropovich. In this area where each instrument is tracked by the finest musicians on the planet, this detail is important, especially because it would remain in the world only 60 cellos of the master, according to Tarisio. This one was reworked in the mid-eighteenth century by the Spanish luthier José Contreras.
The estimate is to be asked to the auction house, but its site is so good that there are all orders of magnitude that can be searched in this area. Indeed, two years ago, Tarisio has listed hundreds of price results of instruments carried out at auction since 1980 by them and by their main competitors.
Leaving the catalogue to view the database, we see that Tarisio got $ 950 K of a Stradivari violin made before 1700. A good violin of the master is worth between 1 and 2 million $.
In the most recent results not yet visible at Tarisio, Christie's sold in New York a Stradivari violin at $ 3.5 million in New York on May 16, 2006, and another one $ 2.7 million on April 2, 2007. A cello from 1692 appears to be the last Stradivari of this type that was sold at auction. Christie's had obtained £ 550 K of that one in London on March 17, 1999.
Now that the price ranges are established, let the passion of musicians being excited or not on the sonic qualities of the instrument, because that is what makes the difference in the prices.
1719 The Supreme Viola
Named the Macdonald, the viola for sale has unusual features.
It is dated 1719 by experts, which is the beginning of Stradivari's most important period when he takes the full benefit of his know-how accumulated over five decades. For comparison, his beautiful Lady Blunt violin was made in 1721.
The Macdonald viola is in perfect condition, having retained almost all of its original golden red varnish. Its back made in a single piece of maple is in itself a technical feat explaining its exceptional sound. Remind that the viola is a four stringed instrument of intermediate size between violin and cello offering a range of sound from low to high, making it one of the elements of the quartet.
Expected beyond $ 45M, the Macdonald is sold by sealed bid process closing on June 26. The sale is operated by Ingles & Hayday in conjunction with Sotheby's. The London-based Ingles & Hayday is an auction house that recently spun off when Sotheby's closed its department of musical instruments.
I invite you to play the video shared by the auction houses. The Macdonald is introduced by the auctioneer Tim Ingles and the violist David Aaron Carpenter.
1731 The Cumulated Experience of Antonio Stradivari
The use of dense woods subsequent to a series of cold years is one of the causes of the superiority of the stradivarius. The best instruments of his last years have thickened edges, corners and chamfers which provide a similar effect. The exact role of the varnish in the sound of his instruments is more controversial.
Christie's sells soon in New York the Kreutzer by a sealed bid process in two rounds closing on 12 and 18 June with a starting bid of $ 7.5 M.
According to its characteristics, this violin was made around 1731, although a label which is not apocryphal is dated 1720. It is in great condition, including a majority of its original red varnish.
The history of this violin has been linked during nearly a century with the Paris Conservatory, founded in 1795. The French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, remembered for the sonata that Beethoven dedicated to him, was a professor therein. He acquired this instrument circa 1795 and kept it until his death in 1831.
Kreutzer bequeathed it to his best student, the Belgian violonist Joseph Massart, who taught at the Conservatory for nearly half a century and enjoyed to loan the violin for prestigious performances. Massart was the teacher of Kreisler among many other students.
In 1920, 28 years after the death of Massart, the violin was purchased by Senator and Mrs. Clark in favor of their daughter Huguette, the famous reclusive heiress who owned it until her death 91 years later.
The loyalty of its successive owners to the Kreutzer violin is due to its outstanding sound and tonal qualities.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's :
1740 The Harpsichord with Three Keyboards
In the eighteenth century the German harpsichords are inspired by the organs, more appreciated at that time in that country.
Working in Hamburg, Hieronymus Albrecht Hass is the only craftsman to develop a three-manual harpsichord.Coupling keyboards offers to the performer a better choice of notes. Only one three-keyboard instrument, made in 1740, survived. Perhaps no other one had been made. Copies were realized a long time afterward.
Its furniture nearly three meters long rests on seven feet with spacers and is richly decorated. The instrument altogether unique and monumental creates a very strong sound and an extension of five octaves. It was a real technological feat for its time.
This historic harpsichord is for sale in Paris on March 25 by AuctionArt Rémy Le Fur.
It was owned by the harpsichordist Rafael Puyana who died one year ago. I invite you to play the video shared on YouTube in 2008 by hauptwerkian wherein Puyana is playing a Scarlatti sonata with this instrument.
1742 the later cremonese school
The best continuator of the tradition of Cremona and the only one who is still innovating is Guarneri del Gesu, very active until his untimely death in 1744. Guadagnini who opens a workshop in Piacenza circa 1742 may have been previously an apprentice of one of the last great luthiers of Cremona.
Carlo Bergonzi also works in Cremona, probably in the vicinity of Vincenzo Rugeri. In spite of his long career very few instruments are attributed to him, which suggests that he was a subcontractor to other masters. He was 54 years old when Stradivari died. He knew how to make violins of a rich sound intermediate between stradivarius and del Gesu with a thick high-quality varnish.
On May 11 in New York, Tarisio sells as lot 229 an exceptional later violin by Carlo Bergonzi on which the experts recognize the participation of his son Michel'Angelo. Its date is estimated around 1740-1745 and a label bears the plausible date of 1742. Here is the link to the website of the auction house.
1751 Milan Violin by Guadagnini
Logically interested in a career at Milan, he establishes his business in the big city in 1749, a free place for his skills because the tradition of high end violins had not continued after Grancino.
A violin made in Milan in 1753 was sold for $ 1.25M by Tarisio on October 13, 2016. It had been carefully maintained despite a frequent use in concert and is in an excellent condition. The Berkova violin, made in 1755, was sold for $ 720K by Tarisio on May 2, 2013, lot 258, although the original coating was not complete.
An early violin from the Milan period is estimated € 1M for sale by Tarisio in Berlin on October 25, 2021, lot 143. It keeps its original label reading : "Joannes Baptista Guadagnini Placentinus fecit Mediolani 1751". Its outstanding tonal qualities are highlighted in the video shared by the auction house.
It is described as a pure example from the finest type of instruments made by Guadagnini in Milan. The volutes of the scroll are slightly shallowed, which is a specific design improvement. It is in excellent condition with top class wood and deep red varnish. This specimen has been owned in the 19th century by the pedagogue and quartet leader Jean-Pierre Maurin.
1753 The Tone of a Guadagnini
2016 SOLD for $ 1.25M including premium
Guadagnini moved three times his studio, to Milan in 1749 and much later to Parma and Turin. He had improved most of his know-how during his first phase in Piacenza, with slightly widened violins, sharp angles in the sides and his much effective reddish-brown varnish. Guadagnini's violins have a strong and harmonious sound and are the best concert instruments from the mid-eighteenth century.
His violins from the beginning of his Milanese period are already demonstrating his great maturity. One of them named the Berkova, made in 1755, was sold for $ 720K including premium by Tarisio on May 2, 2013 although the original coating was not complete.
Tarisio sells in New York one of the best violins made by Guadagnini in Milan, dated 1753. Despite a frequent use in concert, the instrument which has been carefully maintained is in an excellent condition. It is estimated $ 1M in the online sale which ends on October 13, lot 254. Its brilliant sound is demonstrated in a YouTube audio by Tarisio. Here is the link to the auction house's website.
1755 Guadagnini in Milan
2013 SOLD 720 K$ including premium
Taking a special care in the design of the instrument, he was using a unique and inimitable formula of red-brown varnish, altogether brilliant, deep and transparent. After those from the Cremona masters, Guadagnini's violins are among the best of all time in terms of sound.
He was born near Piacenza, where he made his professional debut. Logically interested in a career at Milan, he arrived in the big city in 1749, a favorable time because the tradition of luxury violins had declined after the closing of the Grancino workshop.
Made in 1755, the Berkova is one of the best preserved and finest among the Milanese Guadagnini violins. It is typical of the care taken by the young master to any detail of shape and to the selection of woods, and the wonderful varnish remained intact over large surfaces.
The Berkova is for sale on May 2 in New York by Tarisio. Here is the link to the blog post shared by the auction house.
POST SALE COMMENT
Very good price for this Guadagnini : $ 625K before fees.
1760 The Red Varnish of Guadagnini
The history of violins is dominated by Stradivari and Guarneri. However, many musicians have also chosen to work with instruments by Guadagnini.
From humble origin, Giovanni Battista Guadagnini worked successively in Piacenza, Milan, Parma and Turin. He assimilated and adapted the art of his illustrious predecessors and realized violins of excellent sound. He is considered as the last of the great Italian violin makers of the eighteenth century.
A luthier has to master wood, coating and shape. The best Guadagnini instruments have an inimitable red varnish at once brilliant and transparent.
A violin made at Parma by Guadagnini ca 1760 is estimated $ 400K, for sale by Christie's in New York on November 27. Here is the link to the catalog.
1779 The Ultimate Stage of Guadagnini
2018 SOLD for $ 1.25M including premium
This new hypothesis is consistent with the fact that the structure of the instruments made by Giovanni Battista is very close to the Stradivarius. Probably advised by keen users, Guadagnini practices a continuous improvement as Stradivari had done. Slight changes in shape bring an intense sound that pleases music lovers of his time and of today and his reddish-brown varnish is one of the very best of all time.
Guadagnini's career takes place successively in four cities, simply because he endeavors to keep a direct or indirect relationship with the best violinists. He follows Ferrari from Piacenza to Milan and then to Parma where he is protected by the chief minister of Duke Philip of Bourbon. Political changes led him in 1771 to Turin where he probably wanted to get closer to Pugnani.
He finds in Turin the very young Count Cozio who seeks to build an exclusive trade on the instruments of the quartet. At first Cozio promotes Guadagnini as the ultimate successor to Stradivari. This qualifier is consistent with the hypothesis that Guadagnini had learned his trade with the old master. His instruments made in Turin are identified by the label "Joannes Baptista Guadagnini Cremonensis fecit Taurini. alumnus Antoni Stradivari", to be however considered with caution because it also appears on posthumous pieces.
Guadagnini's production is prolific during his Turin period. A 1778 violin that once belonged to the quartet pedagogue Dorothy DeLay was sold for $ 1.39M including premium by Tarisio on October 17, 2013 over an estimate of $ 800K. On February 22 online from New York, the same auction house sells from the same estimate at lot 157 a violin dated 1779, also in excellent condition.
1779 a viola for count cozio
Guadagnini is the most effective designer of violins of his time but Cozio admires Stradivari. Guadagnini is looking for customers. He agrees in 1774 to work almost exclusively for Cozio. The young aristocrat designates his partner as the ultimate successor to Stradivari.
Guadagnini has the mood of a creator and not of an imitator. His new contract is in counter-employment for his designing skill. Cozio goes ahead and buys as early as 1775 to the heirs of Stradivari the violin in a sublime condition which will be later known as the Messiah.
The formal contract is broken in 1777 and Guadagnini can again diversify his production. A violin dated 1778 sold for $ 1.39M including premium by Tarisio on October 17, 2013 is a fine example of his personal art at the time of his better maturity.
Guadagnini continues in parallel to produce imitations of Stradivarius for the use of Cozio. He manages it with some freedom so that his Stradivarius models are not identifiable. These instruments are signed Joannes Baptista Guadagnini Cremonensis fecit Taurini on a label, although his only connection with Cremona is the arrangement with Cozio.
A viola by Guadagnini Cremonensis, dated 1779, is estimated £ 270K for sale by Ingles and Hayday on March 15 in London, lot 63. It is illustrated in the essay published by the auction house.
POST SALE COMMENT
This specific lot is announced as sold but no price is released. It was probably sold in post-sale.
2010 SOLD 51.6 K£ including premium
The bowed string instruments give rise to two crafts, the luthier and the bow maker, which are typically performed by different masters. The virtuoso musician has to combine the excellence of both the violin and the bow.
Yehudi Menuhin was one of the last examples of child prodigies. He was 13 years old in 1929 when he was presented with a Stradivarius violin, the "Prince Khevenhüller". It is very likely that the bow for sale at Sotheby's in London on March 9, estimated £ 25K, was the piece provided to Menuhin with the Stradivarius. What is certain is that he used these two instruments together for the greater part of his exceptional career.
The bow consists of an octagonal stick mounted on a heel (the "frog") later made by WE Hill & Sons. The stick has the concave design developed by François-Xavier Tourte in the late eighteenth century. It is attributed to this master.
POST SALE COMMENT
The estimate was too low. The instruments that were used by great musicians sell well. Menuhin's bow was not devalued by the fact that the attribution to Tourte was not certain, or by the fact that the heel was made later. Here is the result including premium: 51.6 K £.
1901 The Piano of the Jugendstil
Around 1900, artists have a taste for a revival of decoration. In Germany, they find a sponsor in the person of Grand Duke Louis V of Hesse who has a modernist vision for the furnishings of his palace in Darmstadt.
This movement is called Jugendstil. Peter Behrens is active therein. The young architect built a house for artists inDarmstadt in 1901.
On April 19 in Munich, Von Zezschwitz sells an interesting collection of memories from the artistic community of Darmstadt.
The top lot, estimated € 350K, is the grand piano that equiped the music room of the Behrens house. It is an instrument from the Schiedmayer brand in Stuttgart in a marquetry by Woelfel, also in Stuttgart, specially commissioned by Behrens.
Its lovely decorations are typical of the research style of the time, with patterns of sunbeams and diamonds and, on the lid, a large eagle's wing inspired by the philosophy of Nietzsche. It is inlaid with mother of pearl, lapis lazuli,malachite and brass.
Here is the link to the catalog provided by LiveAuctioneers online auction platform.
1910 A Piano between Louis XV and Art Déco
2015 SOLD for $ 550K including premium
In the mean time it had twice failed to sell at Christie's in London, on October 28, 2014 and March 11, 2015. In the next sale at Sotheby's it is included in a consistent group of 19th and early 20th century furniture that enables to expect a result most suited to this rare and interesting instrument.
Here is my 2012 discussion :
The work of François Linke is an important transition between classical and modern styles with regard to Parisian furniture.
In the late nineteenth century, cabinet makers copied the furniture of the previous century. Edouard Lièvre was the first to look for new paths. When he died in 1886, the Austrian-born Linke was already installed in Paris since five years.
Linke continues to be inspired by the eighteenth century, while adding much freedom in the details of the opulent shapes and of the ormolu decorations.
His work can be compared to that of his contemporaries in Nancy, Majorelle and Gallé. By the care taken in the beauty of wood, he is also one of the immediate predecessors of Art Déco.
The lot for sale is a grand piano by Erard cased by Linke in 1910 in a model identified as Piano Louis XV in his price list. It is inlaid with kingwood and satiné.The gilt bronze figures in rococo style are derived from the models by Léon Messagé, died in 1901, who had been one of Linke's most frequent collaborators.
1912-(1957) from ellis to elvis
The success of Elvis is phenomenal from 1956. In early 1957, he establishes his residence at Graceland, 15 km away from downtown. By a coincidence of date the auditorium is reorganizing its furnishing in the same year. Elvis buys the piano to install it at a choice place in his music room.
The piano comes from Wm. Knabe which is a good brand. Its date of make derived from its serial number is 1912 but nothing is known of its history before the 1930s nor when it entered that auditorium which opened in 1924.
Elvis creates his own style. He wants a white instrument and has repainted this old piano which he will use until 1968. He put it away when Priscilla had plated in gold leaf for their wedding anniversary a Kimball piano purchased by Elvis in 1955.
Both instruments have a history at auction.
The white piano with its matching bench was discussed twice in this column : it was offered unsuccessfully by Gotta Have Rock and Roll in March 2009 and by Heritage in August 2010. The gold piano received a better achievement at Julien's on 7 November 2015 : it was sold for $ 600K including premium.
The white piano, again with its seat, comes back at Heritage in Beverly Hills on June 25, lot 89492, with an estimate that has become more appealing at $ 600K.
This instrument got a winning bid of $ 375K on eBay on August 21, 2017.
Note that auctions recorded in this website are only those from licensed auction houses.
1924 The F5 Mandolin of Lloyd Loar
The mandolin is a stringed instrument derived from the lute. This instrument played by hand (without bow) was known to accompany the Neapolitan songs, before crossing the Atlantic to the benefit of country music.
In the U.S., Orville Gibson in 1898 patented a new type of mandolin, now recognizable to an asymmetric shape which is visually a forerunner of modern electric guitars. The pioneer did not take advantage of his inventions, but his name remains a symbol of the guitar with the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg.. Co., Ltd..
Working for this company, Lloyd Loar created the most prestigious model of American mandolin, the F5, with f shaped holes like a violin.
Skinner is auctioning on October 11 in Boston a F5 copy made by Loar for Gibson company in 1924, lot 30. The condition is very good, but it was refinished. The estimate of 70 K$ is reasonable when compared to a brand copy, never played, which would have reached 200 K$ in a private transaction according to Wikipedia (on Lloyd Loar).
1930 The Guitar of the King of Cowboys
2009 SOLD 550 K$ including premium
On April 4 in New York, Christie's offers the guitar of Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys in Nashville. This small town has been in the last century the undisputed capital of Country Music, relying upon these social facts of the era that were the broadcast and the development of the record industry.
Among these artists, the career of Roy Rogers is one of the longest and most successful.
The instrument for sale is the one he used regularly. This guitar of professional quality was the model OM-45 Deluxe that C. F. Martin and Co had built in 15 copies in 1930. It was acquired by Roy before 1933, when our hero was still Leonard Franklin Slye (a name difficult to bear for a cowboy singer, you will agree).
To give you a chance to extend the glory of Roy Rogers, prepare 150 K $.
POST SALE COMMENT
This instrument has unique characteristics, including its origin. The result is very high: K $ 550 premium included.
1933 Music for the Normandie
While crossing the Atlantic, wealthy passengers are idle. They like to sit in the luxurious atmosphere of the comfortable lounges of the liners.
In the heyday of the Art Déco style, the works of Ruhlmann, Dupas and Dunand obviously interested the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. In 1933, the preparation of the Normandie is already well advanced at the time of the sudden death of Ruhlmann. Alfred Porteneuve will realize some furniture designed by his uncle for this project.
Since the time of Art Nouveau, the great cabinetmakers like Linke, Majorelle or Ruhlmann have made pianos. Luckily, a grand piano made by Ruhlmann was still available. It will decorate the petits salons of the Normandie up to the premature liquidation of the liner at the beginning of the war.
On a mechanism by Gaveau, this piece is in macassar ebony and painted oak with inlaid walnut and ivory. It wasrealized at an unidentified date on a model introduced in 1925.
It is estimated $ 400K, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on March 6. Here is the link to the catalog.
1941 Martin Guitars
2011 SOLD 220 K$ including premium
The CF Martin & Co company specializes in guitars since its inception in 1833. Their instruments have reached a high level of perfection, as shown by the sale at $ 550K including premium at Christie's on April 4, 2009 of a Martin OR-45DeLuxe which had been acquired in 1933 by Roy Rogers.
The other cowboy singing star, Gene Autry, was among the first users of the D-45, a professional model that was builtin less than 100 copies between 1933 and 1942. This guitar was large, which promotes its usage in show, and yetlight and powerful in sound, which is an undeniable technical achievement.
A Martin D-45 is for sale by Skinner in Boston on November 6. Made in 1941 and kept in the family of its first owner, it has never been performed on stage and is in very good condition with its original patina.
This instrument is estimated $ 180K, and illustrated in the blog of the auction house.
POST SALE COMMENT
This interesting guitar was sold $ 185K before fees, 220K including premium.
1942 The Retrieved Tempo of Casablanca
2012 SOLD 600 K$ including premium
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman meet in a Parisian café. The pianist sings 'As time goes by', fascinating and encouraging these two young people.
The second act takes place in 1982. A collector cleans a recently purchased piano. He had felt it right : he actually rediscovered the instrument of the Parisian scene of Casablanca. This 58 keys piano made by Richardson's in Los Angeles bears an inventory reference from Warner Bros.
In the third act in 1988, Sotheby's sells the piano for $ 154K, a very good price at that time for a movie prop. David Redden holds the hammer.
24 years later, the same scene is replayed. Redden will again offer this piano, now estimated $ 800K, on December 14 at Sotheby's in New York.
The Parisian café scene is one of the most iconic in film history. In 1982, a violin pays the funeral tribute to Ingrid Bergman by playing for her for the last time the melody of 'As time goes by'.
I invite you to play the video shared by CBS News.
POST SALE COMMENT
Good price for this small piano, $ 600K including premium, but well below the expectations of the auction house.
1954 Les Paul's Guitar at TV Show
2015 SOLD for $ 335K including premium
The instrument manufacturers feel the need to offer new products. Fender is the pioneer of electric music, soon followed by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Gibson is looking for a headliner for this development and signs a commercial contract with Les Paul in 1952.
Paul is demanding. He wants new sounds and does not accept the disadvantages of electricity including feedback. Furthermore, the television becomes popular. To avoid confusing the public, the new instrument should look like an acoustic guitar. The manufacturer also requires that the guitar is designed to enable mass production.
In 1954, the Gibson Les Paul Custom in a solid body meets such needs. The prototype, which was later nicknamed Black Beauty, is delivered to Les Paul who will use it for more than twenty years while experimenting on it many improvements. It has been carefully restored by the luthier Tom Doyle, its current owner.
Black Beauty will be sold on February 19 in New York by Guernsey's, lot 17 in the catalog shared by LiveAuctioneers.
The transfer of the Les Paul and Mary Ford Show to TV from 1954 paves the way for the cultural revolution of rock and roll.
I invite you to play the video shared by Tom Doyle in 2014 on YouTube to tell the history and demonstrate the engineering and quality of the Black Beauty.
1956 a prototype by gretsch for chet atkins
The Les Paul guitar models managed by Gibson gave to Gretsch the idea to offer Atkins to use his name. Gretsch has the same objectives as its competitor: improve the sound, remove the feedback, prepare mass production.
The first Gretsch 6120 model using the name of Chet Atkins is still a hollow guitar. An improvement is made with the sealed top 6120, an intermediate model toward the solid body 6121.
Two sealed top prototypes are made by Gretsch for the use of Atkins. The first one, heavy and unwieldy, is not suitable. The second, executed in 1956, solves this anomaly while remaining very thick but it pleases the virtuoso who will frequently use it until the end of the decade.
This second sealed top prototype nicknamed Dark Eyes is black to better establish the comparison with the Black Beauty of Gibson and Les Paul. The two instruments, both coming from the collection of the luthier Tom Doyle, are for sale by Guernsey's in New York on 19 February. Dark Eyes is lot 16 in the catalog of the bidding platform LiveAuctioneers.
I invite you to play the video shared in 2013 by Tom Doyle on YouTube to tell the importance of Dark Eyes in the history of the guitar.
1959 Popular Music for the Teenagers
2018 SOLD for $ 430K including premium
He early meets two other teenagers from Liverpool, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. During the summer of 1957 Paul and George hitchhike together. With their guitars, of course.
To do better than the skiffle, two styles are possible, jazz and rock and roll. Mona Best decides to help young musicians by opening a rock and roll live club. She buys an espresso machine and opens the Casbah Coffee Club in her cellar in Liverpool on August 29, 1959.
Fan of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley, John is interested. He comes to Mona with three guitarist friends, Paul, George and Ken Brown. Needing a name for their group, they again use The Quarrymen. Pete, Mona's elder son, will soon become the drummer of The Beatles and as such the predecessor of Ringo.
While helping the Bests to prepare for the opening, John buys his first electric guitar, a Höfner Club 40, with the help of £ 17 brought by Aunt Mimi, the real starting point for his legendary career.
His choice of the Club 40 had been made with George who at 16 was already a great connoisseur of guitars. George had played a jazz acoustic Höfner that he exchanges to acquire a Club 40 and its pickups. George and John now play the same type of guitar. Paul will follow.
George owns that first electric guitar until 1966 when he accepts that it becomes the prize in a pop band competition in Germany. It bears the signatures of the four Beatles but they were entrusted to their road manager and are therefore neither apocryphal nor autograph. This guitar that accompanied the dawn of the Beatles fame is estimated beyond $ 200K for sale by Julien's in New York on May 19, lot 550.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1965 The Electric Tour of Bob Dylan
2018 SOLD for $ 490K including premium
Dylan is going forward at full speed. At Newport on July 25, 1965 the audience was coming to hear soft music. They are outraged by the electric music of Dylan who at only 24 years old was one of the most anticipated stars of that folk festival.
This provocation was premeditated. Five days earlier Like a rolling stone had been released as a single. The performance is however improvised with a band of accompaniment musicians formed at the very last minute with a few friends. The technique does not follow and the sound quality is dismal.
Nothing stops Dylan who is now the great traitor of the folk, but he must manage more professionally for preparing his Electric Tour that will ensure the success of his new style around the world. The group The Hawks is selected to accompany him.
Robbie Robertson, guitarist of The Hawks, easily convinces Dylan that the Fender Stratocaster he played in Newport is not suitable for a project of this magnitude. This model is too heavy and too likely to go out of tune. Throughout his tours from September 1965 to July 1966 Dylan plays a brand new Fender Telecaster owned by Robertson.
This explains why the Stratocaster of his Newport fame no longer interested him. Forgotten in an airplane a few months after Newport, it resurfaced in 2011 and was sold for $ 965K including premium by Christie's on December 6, 2013.
Dylan's career is interrupted by a motorcycle accident and The Hawks becomes The Band. Robertson uses the Telecaster of the Electric Tour in live concerts of The Band including the Woodstock Festival in 1969. His guitar is estimated $ 400K for sale by Julien's in New York on May 19, lot 491. Here is the link to the press release.
Robertson tells in the video shared by Darren Julien that this guitar has remained up to now one of his favorite instruments.
(1963)-1966 the gretsch guitar of john lennon
George Harrison, who was the de facto expert in guitars of the Beatles, owned a 6120, among others. Remind that a guitar from another brand, a Rickenbacker which was one of George's favorite instruments, was sold for $ 660K including premium by Julien's on May 17, 2014.
John Lennon, interested in the sound of George's Gretsch, bought in his turn in 1966 a Gretsch 6120, a Chet Atkins Nashville model manufactured in 1963. At that time, the Beatles were seldom on stage and this instrument was not used in concert.
It is however one of the most prestigious guitars of John who used it in the Paperback Writer session of recordings at Abbey Road on April 14, 1966.
Rock and roll may sometimes be a family affair. In the following year, a cousin of John named David Birch would in turn like to create a group. John presented his Gretsch to David who kept up to now.
It is estimated in excess of £ 400K, for sale on November 23 in London by TracksAuction, lot 214. Here is the link to the site of the auction house.
I invite you to play the video shared on YouTube by TracksAuction
1964 the smile of the bolin piano
His masterpiece is a grand piano. The overtone richness and the modulation capability of this instrument are unique in their kind. The Swedish inventor met his goal to create a piano on which the performer feels to directly access the string when he hits a key.
The first user of the Bolin grand was Bill Evans, in 1964. The great jazz improviser said: "It is one of the most unbelievable instruments I've ever played. I fell in love with it the first time I touched it".
This unique instrument with a very recognizable sound accompanied the greatest songs of ABBA from 1973 to 1977, even inspiring the construction of some of their melodies. It is very present in the videos of that time (Mamma Mia, Waterloo, Dancing Queen) looking like a fifth member of the group when its crystal clear and joyful sound meets the smile of the singers.
The Bolin grand piano now known as ABBA Grand is estimated £ 600K for sale by Sotheby's in London on September 29, lot 37. It is played in Sotheby's London galleries by ABBA's parodic band Björn Again in the video shared by the auction house.
1872 (mid 1960s) the attic in kenwood
John lives for four years in Kenwood with his wife Cynthia and their son Julian born in 1963. Kenwood has an intense life around music and drugs. The Beatles are bored of public concerts and want to perfect their songs which will then be recorded in the studio. The album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in 1967, is the group's biggest hit.
John loves to write his songs in the attic in Kenwood where he has installed two pianos : one Bechstein and the other by John Broadwood and Sons.
The Broadwood, an upright piano made around 1872, was certainly his favorite piano during the preparation phase of Sgt. Pepper. Before giving it to a friend, John puts a small plaque on it certifying as follows : "On this piano was written: A Day in the Life, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Good Morning, Good Morning, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite and Many others, John Lennon, 1971".
John was right, this instrument is part of his legend. When Julian came back from school one evening in 1967 with his famous child drawing designating Lucy, it is easy to imagine John scribbling the first draft of his lyrics before rushing to his Broadwood.
This piano is estimated $ 1.2M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on December 10, lot 75.
1966 A Tailored Guitar for the Blues
2018 SOLD for $ 250K including premium
The Vaughan brothers are passionate about the electric guitar. They will soon perform in dance sessions and nightclubs in Dallas. The elder, Jimmie, 15 years old in 1966, owns a 1951 Fender No-caster which he does not use so much. Stevie Ray, 12, borrows the instrument without permission. A compromise is made : Jimmie gives the Fender to his younger brother.
Stevie Ray Vaughan is delighted to have his first professional guitar, which Jimmie had named Jimbo. It does not leave him to the point that his friends say that he carries the instrument glued to his hands. Stevie Ray rebuilds Jimbo to find new tones suited to the blues. He is a musical prodigy highly inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
Stevie Ray uses Jimbo in his first recording in 1969. He is 15 years old. Jimbo does not however accompany him into his fame.
In 1971 the young musician did not appreciate that he is already the best blues guitarist. He wants to imitate his idols, Freddie King and B. B. King, who had chosen the Epiphone make. Stevie Ray is still short of money : he trades the Fender for an Epiphone. He soon understands his mistake but it was too late : the music teacher with whom he made the deal has already got rid of Jimbo.
After a few difficult years Stevie Ray Vaughan comes back to the top in 1989. He would give anything to find Jimbo. He was not to see it again : he was killed in a helicopter crash in the following year when returning from a show where he had co-starred with Eric Clapton.
Please watch the video shared by Heritage.
1967 Jimi Hendrix burned his Guitar
2008 SOLD 280 K£ including premium
The foolish public life of Jimi Hendrix really began in 1967. On March 31, the first day of his tour in England, Jimi decided to conclude his concert by a spectacular happening. Thus he set fire to his guitar with fluid brought to him by his press officer. It was crazy, and Jimi was sent to hospital for burns to the hands. For a musician, it was not really clever, especially in early stage of his tour.
Jimi is a less good incendiary of instruments than Arman, and the guitar remained almost intact, with few visible burns. Now let us inform specialists that it is a Fender Stratocaster of 1965. It was recovered by the press officer, who now put it for sale in London at The Fame Bureau on September 4 . Jimi burned afterwards another guitar, that the fans are starting to look for.
The Fame Bureau is an auction house specializing in the memorabilia of rock and film.
The estimate is not available on the site of the auction house, but the web seems unanimous to announce it at 500 K£. The source of this information seems to be Reuters.
It was also announced in most articles I have seen that the so-called Woodstock Stratocaster guitar used by Hendrix at Woodstock would have been once sold $ 1.8 million at auction.
POST SALE COMMENT
Under the fire of biddings, the temperature of the guitar of Jimi Hendrix rose to £ 280 K. Although this is not clearly indicated, I think this price is out of charge.
£ 500 K was the high estimate. The low estimate had been more reasonable: 250 K £. This difference was justified by the uniqueness of this object, which made it difficult to assess tighter, and this high figure of £ 500 K was an effective way to attract the attention of the press.
1980 Miles in the Stars
2019 SOLD for $ 275k including premium
His favorite instruments were the trumpets of the Committee trademark made since 1939 by the Martin Band Instrument Company. Their warm and smooth tone is incomparable to play jazz.
In 1975 Miles Davis, sick and exhausted, interrupts his career. Hope returns in 1980. At this point the Committee has been discontinued for ten years and Leblanc has bought Martin. Commissioned by the musician, Leblanc manages to make three new Martin Committee trumpets.
These bespoke instruments have different tube colors with moons and stars in gilt decoration. The attribution to MILES is inscribed in gold script inside the bell.
The black trumpet was buried beside Miles Davis in a Bronx graveyard. The red unit is kept by the family. The night blue trumpet is estimated $ 70K for sale by Christie's in New York on October 29, lot 1011. Please watch the video shared by the auction house, in which the instrument is played by Keyon Harrold.
A nice anecdote accompanies the receiving of these instruments brought to the musician by the project manager from Leblanc. He had to try the trumpet without waking Cicely Tyson who was sleeping in the next room. For playing muted, Miles pushed the bell in the stomach of his visitor.
In 1981 Miles resumed his career and married Cicely.
1984 Cloud for Prince
2020 SOLD for $ 560K including premium
Prince's favorite instrument is the electric guitar. For the film, he wants an asymmetrical guitar imitating a bass guitar. A team of luthiers working in a Minneapolis shop creates for his needs a new model which will be named the Cloud.
Prince was very happy with this model that Purple Rain will make iconic. In the first phase four Clouds were created, from 1983 to 1985. They were used continuously until 1993 by Prince, who frequently changed the color. In 1993 another luthier, Andy Beech, began a serial production.
Made in 1984, the second Cloud was played by Prince throughout the Purple Rain Tour that followed the release of the movie. It has just resurfaced in electric blue, as Prince left it around 1994 after a heavy use. It has kept its nickname of Blue Angel which refers to its light blue color of 1988.
It is estimated $ 400K for sale by Julien's in Beverly Hills on June 19, lot 386. Please watch the video shared by Rolling Stone News to confirm the importance of this specific instrument.
A Cloud made by Beech for Prince circa 1990 and played on stage by the musician was sold on November 4, 2017 for $ 700K including premium over a lower estimate of $ 60K, also by Julien's.