Tarisio Auctions

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Tarisio's New York gallery

Tarisio Auctions is a web-based auction house specializing in string instruments and their bows. Founded in 1999 with locations in New York and London, its online auctions provide a global marketplace for musical instrument sales.


Tarisio's New York offices and gallery are housed at 244–250 W 54th Street in the former workshop of prominent French violin dealer and restorer Jacques Français.[1] Français was joined in 1964 by fellow French luthier René A. Morel, who later opened his own shop in the same space.[2] Morel continued to work in collaboration with Tarisio, offering soundpost adjustments and luthier expertise until the summer of 2011. Luthier Stefan Valcuha, who worked alongside Morel, works now in collaboration with Tarisio, performing expert restorations and maintenance. The London-based office and showroom of Tarisio Europe is located at 51 Queen Anne Street, several blocks south of Regent's Park.


Founded in 1999 by partners Christopher Reuning, Dmitry Gindin, and Jason Price, Tarisio is the world's only internet-based auction house specializing in string instruments and their bows.[3][citation needed] The firm held its first online auction in November 1999 and by October of that year British string magazine The Strad declared it a "major player" in the string instrument auction world, suggesting that "Sotheby's now regards Tarisio as its principal rival."[4] According to The Red Book catalogue of auction results, the company set over 400 international auction records in its first 10 years of business.[5]

The 1697 Molitor Stradivarius

In May 2003 the firm auctioned the private collection of acclaimed violinist Isaac Stern, which grossed $2.3 million, at the time the second-highest total for a violin auction.[6] In July 2006 the firm announced its expansion with the addition of a London office to increase its presence in the European market.[7] Jason Price became the sole owner of the firm in January 2010.[8][citation needed] In June 2010 Tarisio auctioned the contents of the historic Philadelphia violin firm of William Moennig & Son. The sale, which included over 600 lots of instruments, bows, and historical photographs, sold 100 percent of lots.[9][citation needed] The October 2010 auction, which included the 1697 Molitor Stradivarius, was at the time the highest-grossing violin auction in history with over $9 million in sales.[10]

In September 2012 the company announced its acquisition of Cozio, the world's largest online archive of musical instruments.[11] The Cozio archive includes photographs, price histories and provenance for over 50,000 instruments and bows, including results from auction houses worldwide, and the site will continue to operate independently from Tarisio.

Tarisio has introduced two initiatives to reduce buyer's premiums and encourage early bidding: 'First In, Last Out' which allows the bidder who is both the first and last on a lot, to pay a reduced buyer’s premium of 18% up to and including $200,000 (£100,000) and 13% thereafter, introduced in October 2013; and 'Buy Now' allowing buyers to purchase select lots instantaneously, at a fixed price, in advance of the bidding process, also reducing the premiums to 18% and 13% respectively, introduced in October 2014.[12]

Notable sales[edit]

The following is a list of notable instruments and bows sold by Tarisio Auctions. All prices are in $US and include the buyer's premium.

  • After the death of American violinist Isaac Stern in 2001, his estate decided to sell his entire collection of instruments, bows and musical ephemera through Tarisio. Among the many world record prices seen in the May 2003 sale was $130,000 paid for a modern copy of one of Stern’s Guarneri violins by Brooklyn maker Samuel Zygmuntowicz.
  • The two François Xavier Tourte cello bows sold by Tarisio in October 2006 and February 2007 sold for then world record prices: the first made $196,000, while the second, the "ex-Romberg," just beat this price, fetching £101,000 ($202,000). In the 20th century they were owned by Edmund Kurtz, principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony.[13]
  • In October 2009, Tarisio auctioned a 1648 Nicolo Amati violin previously owned by Hollywood musical director George E. Stoll, a violin prodigy in his youth. The violin was sold for $620,000, which at the time was the record for a Nicolo Amati sold at auction.[14]
  • Also sold in the October 2009 auction was a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin made c. 1860, which fetched a record $210,000.[15]
  • In June 2010 Tarisio auctioned the contents of the Philadelphia violin firm of William Moennig & Son. Among the many fine bows in the sale was a François Nicolas Voirin "picture" viola bow, which featured a lens embedded in the frog bearing a photograph of J.B. Vuillaume. The bow was sold for $27,600.[16]
  • Among the highlights of the April 2010 sale was a Joseph Alfred Lamy violin bow auctioned for $54,000.[16]
  • The October 2010 sale, in addition to setting a new world record of $9.4 million for a musical instrument auction,[17] included an 1892 Vincenzo Postiglione violin which was sold for a record $126,000[18] and a Nicolas Maline violin bow, which fetched $36,000.[16]
  • The star lot of the October 2010 auction was the 1697 "Molitor" Stradivarius, previously owned by Albert Stern, which was sold for a record $3.6 million to American concert violinist Anne Akiko Myers.[19]
  • After enthusiastic bidding, the 1721 Lady Blunt Stradivarius violin was sold in the June 20, 2011 auction for a record $15.9 million. Sold on behalf of the Nippon Music Foundation of Japan, the violin's proceeds benefited the Nippon Foundation’s Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.[20]
  • Maestro Lorin Maazel's Guadagnini of 1783 sold in October 2011 for $1.8 million, doubling the previous world record for a Guadagnini violin sold at auction . The sale was featured on the front cover of Strings Magazine as 'The Million Dollar Guadagnini'.[21]
  • The 'Primrose' Guarneri viola of 1697, formerly belonging to Scottish violist William Primrose sold for over $4 million, the highest price paid for a Guarneri family instrument at auction and the highest publicly recorded price for a viola of any type.[22]
  • Celebrated pedagogue Dorothy DeLay's Guadagnini of 1778, previously owned by Albert Stern, set a further world record for a Guadagnini when it was auctioned in October 2013 for $1.39 million.[23]
  • The famous 1696 Stradivarius violin that was stolen from London’s Euston Station in 2010 and later recovered, was sold by Tarisio in December 2013. At the time of theft the violin belonged to the violinist Min-Jin Kym and was recovered in excellent condition. The violin was sold for $2.3million.[24]


  1. ^ "Jacques Francais, 80, Dies; Dealer in String Instruments". The New York Times. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Morel & Gradoux-Matt RareViolins.com". Pulpless.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  3. ^ http://stringsmagazine.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=25078[dead link]
  4. ^ The Strad, October 2000.
  5. ^ Cohen, Donald M. The Red Book, Auction Price Guide of Authentic Stringed Instruments and Bows. Arlington: Donald M. Cohen, LLC, 2009.
  6. ^ Keough, James. "Auction Highlights: Isaac Stern Collection goes on the block. Record prices for violins old and new", Strings. August/September 2003, No. 112.
  7. ^ Strings Trade. July 2006.
  8. ^ http://www.stringsmagazine.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=25442[dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.stringsmagazine.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=26268[dead link]
  10. ^ "Stradivari violin sells for $3.6m - beating auction record". Gramophone. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Auction house Tarisio acquires Cozio online instrument archive". The Strad. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Buy Now=". 2 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Gill, Caroline. "Cello Bow Breaks World Record." Gramophone. November 2006.
  14. ^ http://www.stringsmagazine.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=25812&printable=yes[dead link]
  15. ^ "violin by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, 1860c". Cozio.com. 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  16. ^ a b c "Tarisio • Fine Instruments & Bows • About Us". Tarisio.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  17. ^ "October auction results – 18 October 2010". The Strad. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  18. ^ "violin by Vincenzo Postiglione, 1892". Cozio.com. 1962-11-28. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  19. ^ "Anne Akiko Meyers Buys Strad for Record Price / News / News / All Things Strings". Allthingsstrings.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  20. ^ "The `Lady Blunt` Stradivarius Violin Sets World Record Price at Tarisio Auction". Reuters. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  21. ^ "Sale of Maazel’s Guadagnini Violin Sets Record". Allthingsstrings.com. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  22. ^ "Urban Gardner: Tarisio Fine Instruments & Bows Is a Testament to Timelessness". Wall Street Journal. 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  23. ^ "'DeLay' Guadagnini And Contemporary Violin Sell for Record Amounts". Allthingsstrings.com. 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  24. ^ "Stolen and found Stradivarius is sold at auction for £1.38m". Guardian. 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 

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