Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


BOSTON, Mass. – – Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host an auction of Fine Musical Instruments on Sunday, May 3rd in its Boston gallery at noon. More than 400 lots will be offered.

Featured is a stunning example of the world’s most sought after electric guitar, the 1959 Les Paul Standard (lot 22), which more than any other guitar has achieved legendary status among guitar collectors, players, and investors everywhere for playability, sound, beauty and investment power. This particular example features a two-piece carved tiger maple top with an irregular figure and a halo of red sunburst around the edges. The back and neck are very clean, with no fading or loss of the red “cherry” finish. It comes from the original owner, and has remained unplayed for nearly 40 years. By coincidence, its serial number 9 1950 directly precedes the 1959 Les Paul Standard serial number 9 1951 sold at Skinner in May 2006. Estimate is $225,000 to 260,000.

mandolins.jpgAlso important among Gibson historical instruments is the only known matched pair of Gibson Master Model F5 Mandolins (lot 31) ordered from Gibson in 1926 by Memphis musician Robert L. Sharp. A popular performer and educator in Memphis and Little Rock throughout the 20’s and 30’s, Sharp’s desire was to always have a backup on stage in case of a broken string. Both feature the famous intricate “fern” style pearl inlay in the headstock, highly figured maple backs and necks, and tops of violin-quality spruce. The pair comes with a one-of-kind original double case. Both instruments are in excellent and all-original condition. Estimate is $120,000-160,000.

Also featured is a selection of 12 Martin flat top acoustic guitars and several Gibson acoustic and electric instruments, along with two Fender Stratocasters from 1954 and 1962. An intricately carved Fairbanks banjo (lot 13) from 1921 compliments the selection of fine fretted instruments.

Among the more than 200 violins available, there are more than a dozen fine Italian violins ranging from 1725 to 1940 listed with estimates under $30,000, including a 1725 Spiritus Sorsana of Turin (Lot 404, est. $20,000-30,000) an 1871 Brothers Melegari of Turin (Lot 65, est. $25,000-30,000) and a 1926 violin by Oreste Candi of Genoa (lot 62, est. $25,000-35,000).

Outstanding among the many American-made instruments is a rare violin by Carl Becker Sr. (lot 66) of Chicago from 1919, modeled after Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, with an antique finish. In excellent condition and possessing the characteristic power of Becker’s instruments, it is estimated at $50,000-60,000.

The sale also features its usual good selection of over 120 bows for violin, viola and cello, featuring those by Pajeot, Sartory, Voirin, Hill, Maire, Ouchard and Nurnberger.

Skinner-Live! Online Bidding on Skinner’s Website
Skinner’s website now features real-time online bidding via the SkinnerLive! bid applet. Visit and click on the blue Skinner Live Bidding button for full instructions prior to the auction. The blue Skinner Live Bidding button can be found under the Buy/Sell tab on our homepage and on the Fine Musical Instruments department page. Once pre-registered on our website, you can join in the live bidding as soon as the auction begins. All lots in the auction are also available for viewing at The website provides full-color thumbnail images and full lot descriptions. It allows users to leave bids online, and view prices realized in real-time during and after the auction. Visit to sign up for our free eZine of upcoming arts & antiques auctions and events.

Catalog and Preview Information
Previews for the auction will be held on Friday, May 1st 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, May 2nd from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, May 3rd from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Illustrated catalog #2455 is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 508-970-3240. It is also available at the gallery for $29. Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. For more information, call 617-350-5400, or visit Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogs online.