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Rare Early Cello Sells for £17,000

1st February 2024.

Musical instruments hit a high note, when an antique cello sold for £17,000 (plus buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Scientific and Musical Instruments, Cameras and Tools Sale on 31st January. The cello, which was possibly English, was a good, well-made example of a pre-1820 instrument and attracted significant levels of interest before selling to a telephone bidder. Further early instruments of note included a circa 1838 Wooden Flute by Rudall & Rose embossed with the Royal Crest (sold for £850), and an English Classical Bassoon stamped ‘W Milhouse London’ (sold for £600.

Amongst the 20th century instruments in the sale were two saxophones from a small collection of musical instruments in the sale, which belonged to the late Alan W. W. Fenny, a successful businessman from the North East who was once the largest employer in Stockton-on-Tees. The Alto and the Tenor Saxophones, which sold for £5,500 and £6,000 respectively, are prime examples of the Selmer Mark VI, long considered to be the gold standard of saxophones which were played by the likes of John Coltrane, Kenny G, Stan Getz, and Sonny Rollins.

Acoustic guitars sold well throughout, too, with competitive bidding for good Gibsons such as an example made in Kalamazoo with a sunburst finish, which sold for £850, and a Gibson J200 Acoustic Guitar, which sold for £1,700. A further acoustic guitar by C F Martin & Co sold well, too at £1,500 and a Rickenbacker 330 Jetglo Electric Guitar sold for £1,300.

Elsewhere in the sale, Leica cameras once again proved popular, with a Leica M6 Anton Bruckner Camera, one of a limited-edition release made to celebrate the anniversary of the composer’s death, sold for £3,200, and a Leica M2 Camera with lenses and accessories sold for £2,500. Scientific curios that attracted bidders included a cased collection of 30 pairs of glass eyes, which sold for £380, and an anatomical life size model of the musculature of the human leg, which sold for £300.

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