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Weakened economy takes the luster off of spring auction sales

US sales indicate a changing market

Despite global economic jitters, the credit crunch, and the weak US dollar, the stateside spring auction sales actually did quite well, producing the usual sprinkling of record-setting sales, a handful of runaways (often the result of musicians duking it out for something good to play), and moving a solid 86 to 88 percent of lots, mostly at or above estimates. But there are signs that the economy may be creating cracks in the trade—big-name items were fewer compared with recent years, and opinions regarding the quality of what was available to buy this spring ranged from "modest" to "weak" to "junk." And we do mean junk, at least in one case: Skinner's top-selling violin—Camillo Camilli, Mantua, c. 1750—was literally found on a bag of trash five miles from the company's Bolton, Massachusetts, office by a man in the removal business. Restorable, despite the cracks, it brought $59,250.

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ONE MAN'S TRASH: 1750 Camilli violin.


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