Monkey orchestra makes thousands in sale

A very fine, early, and unusual monkey chamber orchestra musical automaton picture sold for £5,000 in Tennants Auctioneers’ Scientific and Musical Instruments, Cameras and Tools Sale on September 29.

Made in France, circa 1860, and bearing the signature ‘Riviere’, the picture had a key-wind cylinder movement and played four airs.

These superb box framed-format automatons from the early to late 19th century are usually smaller sized examples featuring cats and dogs.

The top lot of the sale, however, was a fine violin by John Frederick Lott II (1804- 1870) that sold for £13,000 and was part of a small collection of instruments in the sale that were The Property of a Musician.

a fine violin by John Frederick Lott II (1804- 1870)

John Lott, known as Jack, was the most in demand English violin maker of the 19th century making fine models after the Cremonese masters Guarneri del Gesù and Antonio Stradivari.

Further highlights of the musical section of the sale included a well-made Violin Bow by W. E. Hill & Son, one of the finest makers in the UK, which sold for£3,800; a Concertina labelled ‘Boyd & Co’ that sold for £1,400; and a Miyazawa flute that sold for £850.

A small private collection of LP’s that sold for a total of £920 and included a copy of COB’s ‘Moyshe McStiff & The Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart’.

A private collection of vintage radios sold strongly throughout and achieved a total hammer price of £10,870.

Highlights included a good 1937 Philco type V537 ‘The People’s Set’, which sold for £950 – thought to be a new auction record for the model.

Cameras and photographic equipment proved in demand too, with top lots including a Hasselblad 503CW Camera with a Carl Zeiss lens that sold for £1,200, and a Tomiyama Art Panorama 170 Camera with a Rodenstock lens that sold for £1,000. Finally, a Davy mining safety lamp sold for £2,000.


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