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And the Amati goes to the Russian gentleman at the back

Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

Amati masterpiece An eagerly-awaited sale of valuable violins will take place at Sotheby’s in New Bond Street today. The most envied instrument in the lot dates from 1682 and was made by Nicolò Amati. The pre-sale estimate is between £250,000 and £350,000. The Amati family of Cremona is one of the most distinguished names in the history of the industry, and Nicolò was the grandson of Andrea Amati, regarded as the inventor of the modern violin. Buyers of this kind of instrument were once exclusively European or American, but it’s expected that the purchaser of this Amati will be either Chinese or Russian. Chinese collectors are making their way into the market, but the betting is that this violin will go to Russia because of its colossal musical tradition and the fact that Russians now have the money needed to collect top-of-the-line instruments.

What’s the difference between the work of the Stradivari, Amati, Gagliano, Guarneri and Guadagnini families? And why are their instruments more valuable than those made by Gregorio Antoniazzi, Giovanni Maria del Bussetto, Felix Mori Costa and Francesco Emiliani? The answers can be found in “Four Centuries of Violin Making: Fine Instruments from the Sotheby’s Archive” by Tim Ingles, Sotheby’s head of the musical instruments department, and the instrument maker and restorer John Dilworth.


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