Skinner Inc.

Auctioneers and Appraisers

Perfect pitch: Skinner’s Fine Musical Instruments Auctions hit the high notes, from classic violins to groovy guitars.

Skinner Inc.’s Department of Fine Musical Instruments will offer two auctions this month. Parts of the J. Geils collection, from the estate of the Grammy-nominated rock musician, will be included in both.

Auction 3051B, Fine Musical Instruments, will be held in the Boston gallery, 63 Park Plaza, at 12 PM on Sunday, November 19. It will feature classical and vintage instruments and related music material. Included will be highlights from the estate of J. Warren Geils Jr, founder of the Grammy-nominated J. Geils Band.

Auction 3062T, taking place online from November 13 through November 20, is devoted exclusively to additional J. Geils instruments and memorabilia. It includes records, CDs, photographs, clothing, and books as well as vintage instruments and instrument parts.

Fine Musical Instruments, Auction 3051B, features a large complement of fine fretted, bowed and wind instruments. Noteworthy highlights include:

  • Spanish Classical Guitar, Ignacio Fleta, Barcelona, 1976, with case. (Lot 8, $20,000-30,000)
  • Italian Violoncello, Ascribed to Giuseppe Pedrazzini, 1920, with case. Certificate: William Moennig & Son, 1970. (Lot 17, $25,000-35,000)
  • German Violin, Sebastian Klotz, Mittenwald, 1771, with case. Certificate: Rembert Wurlitzer, Inc., 1972. (Lot 67, $12,000-15,000)

An assortment of violin, violoncello, and viola bows complement the wide array of instruments. There are also numerous Pernambuco boards, violin and contrabass bow blanks, and other lutherie items.

This sale also includes a number of important vintage instruments from iconic American makers. Two Gibson guitars are noteworthy: Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Electric Guitar, 1952 (Lot 341, estimate $8,000-12,000) and Gibson Nick Lucas Special Acoustic Guitar, circa 1929 (Lot 334, estimate $5,500-6,500).

Several Gibson mandolas and mandolins are offered. The premier instrument is the Gibson Style H-5 Mandola, 1924, serial no. 74871, signed by Lloyd Loar, with original case. This rarity is one of about twenty known examples. (Lot 327, estimate $35,000-55,000).

Other highlights in this category are a trio of Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitars, from 1961 (Lot 342, estimate $10,000-15,000); 1958 (Lot 343, estimate $12,000-16,000); and 1954 (Lot 344, estimate $25,000-35,000).

As is customary at Skinner auctions, this sale includes some unusual and unexpected items. Adam Tober, Department Director of Fine Musical Instruments, points to the American Enharmonic Harmonium, James Paul White, Springfield MA, 1883. Tober notes that this distinctive example of the once-popular reed organ “is an experiment in a 53-tone system, rather than the commonly used 12 of equal temperament.” (Lot 1, estimate $1,000-1,500)

Highlights of the portion of the J. Geils collection included in Auction 3051B are two notable guitars:

  • D’Angelico Excel Archtop Guitar, 1940 (Lot 354, estimate $6,000-8,000)
  • Stromberg Master 400 Archtop guitar, circa 1940 (Lot 355, estimate $8,000-12,000)

Geils material in this sale includes an assortment of Gibson and Stromberg guitars as well as numerous Fender and Gibson amplifiers from the 1930s through the 1960s, and personal items such as a Nudie Suit, 1973, jacket, pants and two shirts (Lot 399, estimate $400-600).

Auction 3062T, the J. Geils Collection Online, includes over 160 lots of Geils’ equipment, memorabilia, and personal property. His musical interests ranged from jazz, folk, soul, and blues to the pop-rock which was the signature sound of the J. Geils Band’s eleven albums released between 1970 and 1985.

The eclectic assortment of items includes:

  • Vega D-46 Duo-Tron Electric Guitar circa 1950 (Lot 1001)
  • J. Geils Band Centerfold Gold Record Sales Award, 1981 (Lot 1024)
  • Six Vintage T-shirts, including Peter Frampton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, J. Geils Band and others (Lot 1054)

Best known as a guitarist, Geils also played the trumpet and cornet (he played trumpet in the Northeastern University marching band and played jazz trumpet early in his professional career). Numerous examples from a variety of makers are included (Lots 1080-1169).

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material.  Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Miami, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online. Join auctions live with SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at www.skinnerinc.com, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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