This illustration of a violin by Nicolo Gagliano of Naples was published in The Strad, June 1987. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photograph:
Sotheby’s mammoth sale on April 30 mustered 564 lots. The attendance strained the resources of the Conduit Street Gallery, with foreign visitors well represented, defying the gloomy prognosis that the surge in the value of £1 sterling would deter overseas buyers, and the total of sold items exceeded £1.5m. Both Strads were sold – the ‘Kuhlenkampff’ of 1734 made £396,000 and the ‘ex-Stephens’ 1690 £154,000.
Even so the rate of capital appreciation continues to move sharply in favour of later schools, with the 19th and even the present century seemingly overhauling the classic instruments so long cherished as the undisputed leaders. The much sought after Hannibal Fagnola of Turin for example continues to assail new heights with a 1929 example this time marking £15,400, trebling the figure quoted only a year or two ago.
Not that older Italians still in viable condition are losing their appeal – it is simply that their present price status leaves less room for proportionate markups. An 1829 Pressenda, another great Turin name, made £56,100, a JB Guadagnini, Parma period 1769, was bid to £77,000, and an outstanding Nicolo Gagliano of Naples 1775 was £36,300.