New record for a Guadagnini?

New record for a Guadagnini?


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2013

Dorothy DeLay’s teaching fiddle fetched $1,390,999 in an online auction. The auctioneers claim this as a record for the maker. Any challenges?

delay guadagniniDeLay_Portrait250


New world records set in Tarisio sale of DeLay’s Guadagnini

The Guadagnini of celebrated violin teacher Dorothy DeLay was sold in Tarisio’s New York sale last week for $1,390,999, setting a new world record. The previous record for a Guadagnini was $1,080,000.

Jason Price, founder and director of fine-instrument auction house Tarisio, says, ‘The DeLay Guadagnini was that rare blend of soloist sound, investment potential and historical provenance. The bidding was fiercely contested and the final bidder is delighted with her acquisition. This new record isn’t simply an incremental record but a considerable increase over the previous price set by Tarisio in 2011. Guadagnini is clearly a maker in high demand’.

DeLay’s instrument was not the only record set at Tarisio’s sale. Indeed another 29 world records were hit by the 406 bidders and 296 lots, including: a Pressenda which sold for $475,000; a Vuillaume for $228,000; a Sartory cello bow for $66,000; and a Curtin & Alf violin made in 1985 for $132,000. This violin was made for Ruggiero Ricci as a copy of his Guarneri and is a record amount for a contemporary maker.

‘It’s pretty sensational to sell a contemporary violin for $132,000 when the makers, both still alive, sell their new instruments for about a third of that amount’, says Jason Price.

In total 89.9% of lots were sold.



  • Felix says:

    In auction, prices for instruments are most times smaller than in private sales, but those are not made public, or at least the exact sum. People rarely talk about this outside the circle of dealers. I personally heard about some astonishing prices being paid, but without clear proof, case closed…

  • Brian says:

    I think that’s correct, though it’s still well below the most expensive Strads. See here: