Benjamin Jones reports on some exciting outcomes at London’s March musical instrument auctions
Two days of busy bidding brought some solid results for the four auction houses holding sales in London at the end of March.
Tarisio topped £2m with its 215-lot sale. A single bid secured the Francesco Rugeri top lot – a violin dating from circa 1680 – for a mid-estimate price of £253,600. A violin by Rugeri’s son Vincenzo didn’t fare as well, taking £140,000 on an estimate of £150,000–£220,000. Eclipsing this was a very handsome gold- and tortoiseshell-mounted Nikolai Kittel cello bow, made in around 1850. Estimated at £90,000–£150,000, it went for £143,000.
Another bow, this time a silver-mounted Joseph Henry violin bow from circa 1840, was one of the stars of Amati’s sale, smashing its £15,000–£25,000 estimate to make £42,000. Estimates were also topped by a 19th-century Brescian violin, catalogued as possibly by Giuseppe Scarampella, and a circa 1700 school of Nicolò Amati violin. The former was on at £40,000–£60,000 and sold for £62,000, and the latter fetched £52,700 on an estimate of £20,000–£40,000.
Ingles & Hayday scored an impressive result with its top lot, a Tomasso Balestrieri violin from 1775, which climbed above its £200,000–£300,000 estimate to reach £420,000. The firm claimed the most expensive viola of the March sales – an 1852 Rocca, which made £168,000. A French violin and two from Italy completed Ingles & Hayday’s top five, with a ‘Messiah’-inspired Vuillaume netting £156,000, a Giuseppe Guadagnini taking £96,000 and a David Tecchler going for £84,000.
The next auctions in the calendar are Skinner in Boston on 26 April, Bonhams in London on 11 May, Amati in London on 12 May, and Tarisio in New York, which opens on 14 April and closes on 13 May.
All prices quoted include buyer’s premium.