Published: December 12, 2000
Amati Violin Plays to $108,100 at Boston Musical Instruments Sale
BOSTON, MA. – A rare Italian violin by Hieronymus and Antonius Amati, Cermona, 1608, took top honors in Skinner’s recent fall auction of musical instruments. Expected to realize $80/100,000, the instrument sold for $108,100.
Commenting on the success, department director David Bonsey noted, “The brothers Amati violins are known for their elegant sound. Fashioned in the age of the Baroque, they are still unsurpassed in beauty and workmanship, with a sound of pure gold.”
The sale opened with a selection of fretted instruments, highlighted by a rare Gibson Nick Lucas Model from 1928 that sailed past its estimate of $5/7,000 to $14,950. (Skinner held the previous record price of $6,325, established in May of this year). This was the Gibson Company’s first design for a premier quality flat top guitar, and has been sought after the ever since its introduction in 1927. This particular guitar was rare for its combination of a long neck (14 frets to the body), its back and sides of rare Brazilian rosewood, and a bridge fitted with pins rather than the “trapeze” suspended tailpiece. The instrument was all original, never having been repaired or restored.
A rare guitar by Elmer Stromberg of Boston, the “Master 400” model of 1947, sold for $48,300. Originally custom built for Steve Hester of the Larry Clinton Orchestra, this model is considered the “King of Orchestral Guitars,” according to Bonsey, and is known for its sound, which projects over a jazz orchestra without amplification.
Additional highlights included a venerable “New Yorker” model guitar by John D’Angelico from 1953. An instrument with a natural “blonde” finish and a “cutaway” body allowing access to the high playing positions, it sold for $25,300. Other fretted instruments included a 1921 banjo by Fairbanks of Boston, with various parts missing bur with a beautiful inlaid and carved neck, which reached $4,600.
A selection of stringed instruments and bows followed, included a Gaitano Pollastri violin from 1935. This instrument was consigned by its original owner who commissioned it while studying at the Conservatory in Bologna. It was all original and never repaired or restored, and sold at $33,350. Also reaching a record price was a violin by Domenico Degani, 1886. This instrument was bought from Rudolf Wurlitzer in 1945 by a single mother in New York, who paid him $28 per month until the purchase price was reached. It was sold at Skinner with a passbook listing all the monthly payments, with no interest. It also has one of the first certificates signed by Rembert Wurlitzer, before he took over the firm in 1947.
Other significant world records were achieved for French viola bows. A viola bow from the shop of J.B. Vuillaume sold for $18,400, a viola bow by Claude Thomassin brought $9,775, and a viola bow by Louis Gillet reached $2,415. A gold mounted viola bow by Jacques Audinot realized $5,750.
Prices include the 15 percent premium.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm