Auction Alert: Musical Masterpieces

Christie’s curates a selection of impressive instruments.
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With some 215 lots spanning nearly every genre and maker, Christie’s sale of rare and important musical instruments should whet just about any collector’s appetite. “What’s amazing about musical instruments is that they are more than just beautiful works of art,” says Christie’s music specialist Katie Banser. “They are transcendent. They can pass from one culture and live for 100 years and still be viable instruments.”

We’ll let the guitars, violas, and violins speak for themselves. Banser gives us the scoop on a few of the top lots.

1968 Gallagher guitar, owned and used by eight-time Grammy winner Doc Watson (estimated from $6,000 to $8,000)
“Doc Watson revolutionized flat- and finger-picking and guitar-playing in genres from bluegrass and gospel to rock ’n’ roll—and this is his iconic guitar,” says Banser. “It was a gift from the maker to him, and it was previously hanging in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It comes with an engraved Doc Watson guitar strap, which is like a piece of guitar candy.”

Hermann Hauser Sr. guitar, Reisbach, 1949 (estimated from $80,000 to $120,000)
“I love this guitar,” says Banser. “We’ve offered it before, but each time it gets me excited. It’s so clean and plays so beautifully. It has already gained a lot of interest and will continue to do so.”

Jacob Stainer Absam viola, circa 1663 (estimated from $200,000 to $300,000)
“Stainer is the leading maker in the Austro-German school of guitars, and he made very few violas,” Banser says. “There are only five violas in existence from him, so to have this one, which is in very good condition, is extremely rare—and coveted.”


Christie’s: 1230 Sixth Avenue, 212.636.2000

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