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Many Records Set In Fall 2013 Auctions


Ruggiero Ricci's Curtin & Alf violin set a new record for a sale of a violin made by living makers.

Records were meant to be broken and the fall’s auctions showed that it’s as true for prices of violins as it is for number of hot dogs eaten in ten minutes. It’s expected that old violins go up in value and set new records, but something noteworthy also happened last month when a violin made in 1985 for violin great and educator Ruggiero Ricci by Joseph Curtin and Gregg Alf  slipped past the previous record for a violin made by living makers.

The violin, a copy of the circa 1731 “Gibson, Huberman” Guarneri del Gesù, was sold by Tarisio for $132,000, and in doing so topped the previous record of $130,000 set in April 2012 for a copy of the “Plowden” Guarneri del Gesù violin Brooklyn maker Sam Zygmuntowicz made for Isaac Stern in 1994. In addition to this sale, Tarisio also managed to set a whopping 29 additional records in its October New York sale, with the favorite violin of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated teachers, Dorothy DeLay, selling for $1,390,000. DeLay’s 1778 Guadagnini violin, made during the maker’s stay in Turin, upped the previous record of $1,080,000, set in November 2011 by Tarisio for the 1783 “Maazel” Guadagnini. Other new records included $475,750 for an 1838 Giovanni Francesco Pressenda violin and $228,000 for an 1872 Vuillaume violin. A Eugene Sartory cello bow, made especially for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, sold for $66,000. Tarisio’s London auction set 19 other records, including £315,750 for an extensively documented “grand pattern” 1710 Girolamo Amati II violin, £163,200 for a nearly untouched 1866 Vuillaume violin, and £35,400 for a Sartory viola bow.


A composite Bergonzi played by Leila Josefowicz sold for £156,000.

Ingles & Hayday auctioned off a composite violin with a circa 1750 Michele Angelo Bergonzi foundation that has served as Leila Josefowicz’s main violin for a dozen years [she’s moved on to a contemporary violin made by Zygmuntowicz; the violin had belonged to the late Strings contributing editor Edith Eisler.] The violin reportedly has a newer scroll and may have a replaced top. It sold for £156,000. Other big sellers included £336,000 for a 1705 David Tecchler cello, £276,000 for a 1787 Lorenzo Storioni viola (obliterating the $146,000 set in 2007 for Storioni viola), and £42,000 for an exhibition-grade gold- and tortoiseshell-mounted Sartory bow from 1900.

More records were set at Brompton’s auction, including an Andrea Guarneri violin made in 1684 that sold for a record £240,000 and a Dominique Peccatte violin bow from 1845 in nearly perfect condition, sold for £96,000. A 1767 Carlo Ferdinando Landolphi viola sold for £150,000, a big increase over the previous record of £80,700 for a viola by this Milanese maker.

With several desirable items on the block for their first auction, made a good showing with a c. 1820 Carlo Giuseppe Testore cello selling for £124,000; a c. 1740 violin by Camillus Camilli selling for £24,800, and a c. 1840 Simon FR violin bow selling for £11,172.

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