Antique violin case sells at auction for over $17.000!

May 30, 2016 at 01:45 PM · A week ago at Skinner’s Auction of Fine Musical Instruments one of the twelve “Apostle” cases made by W.E. Hill & Sons of London, estimated value $5,000-$8,000, sold for more than double at $17,220 including premium.

Made in the 1880s, the “Apostle” cases were Hill’s halo product, representing the very best their talented artisans could create, featuring exotic wood marquetry and damask silk velvet. They are the case collector’s equivalent of a Golden Period Stradivari. This particular example, circa 1887, is in stunning original condition, with the interior in a luminous slate color.

One more example of some prime violin cases becoming considered more and more as investment-grade artwork!

(And before someone says they'd never pay that much for a case, consider that this is fine art, not intended to be taken out of the music room)

http://www.skinnerinc.com/auctions/2892B/lots/53

Replies (22)

May 30, 2016 at 08:18 PM · I agree that such a case should never be taken out of the music room, certainly not to a rehearsal or concert. There is the real danger in this sad world we live in that the light-fingered gentry might get the impression that the contents match the container.

May 30, 2016 at 10:59 PM · Only two bow spinners. No humidity gauge. And no plastic tube for your strings. Piece of junk. LOL

May 31, 2016 at 12:11 AM · Yes Paul. And for 17k that buyer could have purchased 14 new Musafia cases instead, a much better value in my opinion. I have had one for ten years and love it.

May 31, 2016 at 12:26 AM · It does sadden me that people spend such money on things that aren't practical by today's standards, but oh well people have paid millions of dollars for nonsense 'art' like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Circle#/media/File:Malevich.black-square.jpg. That case at least is pretty!

But yes if I wanted a pricey, high quality case to use, I would go Musafia too! Much better value! ;)

May 31, 2016 at 06:02 AM · Thank you for the nice comments :-) !

There are two reasons why people can spend a large sum on a collector's item. One is that they think the item's value will appreciate over time, making it an investment. Second, is that they actually like it for its beauty, significance, heritage, or emotional attachment.

I believe, since I happen to know the buyer of this case, both conditions were satisfied!

May 31, 2016 at 04:08 PM · Well, that wraps that one up!

May 31, 2016 at 11:24 PM · Put a Strad inside and I will suddenly get a lot of emotional attachment to the case!

June 1, 2016 at 05:48 AM · It was indeed originally made for a Golden Period Strad, unfortunately it's not clear which one...

June 1, 2016 at 06:21 AM · I tell you what Rocky,

ask Dimitri to save for you one of the re-furbished Musafias that contained a Strad before and you will get emotionally attached on the cheap.

June 1, 2016 at 07:43 AM · Kypros, that's a good idea in principle, the problem is that when I get cases traded in that once contained a Strad, once refurbished, I don't sell them. They go into my collection!

June 1, 2016 at 10:07 AM · So, what was originally my re-furbished Enigma used for?

June 1, 2016 at 10:47 AM · I've held a Stradivari, does that mean I belong in a collection??

June 1, 2016 at 11:02 AM · I bought one of these cases in 2002 and paid about £280 for it in a London auction house. I bought it because of its beauty. I never thought it would be worth anything...

Cheers Carlo

June 1, 2016 at 01:57 PM · Kyprpos, I have already got one; just passed a test drive to Montreal and back!

June 1, 2016 at 03:23 PM · You bought a Hill case, or one of the 12 Apostle special Hill cases???? Big difference.

June 1, 2016 at 05:32 PM · One of the 12! Unfortunately I had to reline the inside as moths had done a lot of damage to the silk velvet. This has been done so well that one does not notice the change, but it will effect the value. The upside is that the corners inside were packed with newspaper, so I have an exact date in May 1888. I have a 1610 Amati that resides in it, so it must have been made for a smaller Strad.

Cheers Carlo

June 2, 2016 at 06:43 AM · Antique violin case sells at auction for over $17.000!

There's one born every minute ...

June 2, 2016 at 07:03 AM · I'd venture to guess that at today's top makers labour rates, $17000 would be about right for a case as intricate as the 12 Apostle cases, I assume Peter has never seen one.

June 2, 2016 at 08:12 AM · You are quite right Lyndon, I have never seen one of those cases. However, I prefer to use a modern case with good construction to hold a valuable MODERN fiddle, but I suppose if you have a very old fiddle which is falling apart, as most are, then a less reliable case would be OK! (wink)

June 2, 2016 at 08:51 AM · It's like saying that to spend $15M on a Bugatti Type 41 Royale is silly because a Kia is more practical, you can get it serviced everywhere, and it has airbags. :-)

Again: the Apostle is a collector's item of fine artwork, not a "violin case" to be used as such! Fine art is developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from applied art that also has to serve some practical function (think of industrial design).

And I agree with Lyndon, it may actually be underpriced in terms of replacement value today.

June 2, 2016 at 09:01 AM · Thank you Dimitri, its a tribute to your artistry that you appreciates such priceless relics of history.

June 2, 2016 at 09:13 AM · If we can now see further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants of the past.

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