The World Piano News pre-sale story about the collection was our most viewed article so far this year. And for that reason, we’ve decided to follow up on the auction and also list the results (below).
The sale was held at Burghaus Wassenach with around 100 potential bidders attending, and many others participating online or via telephone.
95% of the 318 items being auctioned were sold. 147 of the lots were historical musical instruments and accessories, and 40 of these were keyboards (clavichords, virginals, ottavinos (miniature virginals), harpsichords, square pianos, fortepianos, organs, physharmonicas and harmoniums). 29 pianos were listed in the auction.
Several instruments fetched sums in the tens of thousands of euros. But the star performer, selling for the largest amount was Lot 104 — a combination keyboard instrument featuring a physharmonica and fortepiano. This was built around 1840 in Vienna by Anton Tomaschek, with the physharmonica element attributed to Jakob Deutschmann. This rarity sold for €65,000 (€85,111 incl. buyers premium).
Combination Keyboards and Physharmonicas
Combination keyboard instruments are hybrids comprising two or more different types of keyboard (e.g. a claviorganum — a stringed instrument such as a fortepiano and an organ linked together. This amalgam may have a single “master” keyboard, or each element might have its own keyboard with a coupling mechanism enabling both parts to be played from either keyboard.
These combination keyboards have been around for over 500 years — long before the appearance of the piano. And all manner of combinations have been tried — some more successful than others.
As stated, Lot 104 combines a physharmonica with a grand piano. A physharmonica is a kind of small harmonium which first appeared in Vienna around 1820. The sound is generated by air flowing over a set of tuned reeds. In the case of the sale instrument, two of the pedals operate a bellows mechanism which provides the necessary reservoir of air. The piano and the physharmonica can be switched on/off by two internal sliders.
The auction was considered to be a great success raising €593,870 (€777,613 incl. premium). Amazingly all 147 musical instruments and accessories reached their reserve and sold for a total of €537,945 (€704,385 (incl. premium).
A few items, mostly artworks, remain unsold and can be viewed here.
Note: €1 equates to approximately $1.08, and £0.88 at the time of writing.
Auction Results (only pianos are listed)
For most lots, a buyer’s premium of 26% plus VAT at 19% is added to the hammer price.
Lot 32: Square piano by Érard Brothers, Paris, 1821.
Starting price €400. Hammer price €2,800.
Lot 34: Fortepiano by Johan George Groeber, Innsbruck, c1815.
Starting price €7000. Hammer price €60,000.
Lot 35: Square piano by Muzio Clementi, London, c1810.
Starting price €500. Hammer price €4,000.
Lot 38: Viennese Fortepiano, signature lost, c1825-1830.
Starting price €1500. Hammer price €5,000.
Lot 41: Lyre piano by Johann Christian Schleip, Berlin, c1840-1845.
Starting price €2000. Hammer price €8,500.
Lot 44: Small square piano by Johannes Kilianus Mercken, Paris,1797.
Starting price €1500. Hammer price €4,800.
Lot 46: Fortepiano signed “C. Graf”, probably Vienna, 1820-1830.
Starting price €2,000. Hammer price €4,600.
Lot 48: Unsigned German square piano, c1760-1780.
Starting price €800. Hammer price €2,400.
Lot 49: Lyre piano signed “F.A.Klein”, Berlin c1830-1835.
Starting price €3000. Hammer price €7,000.
Lot 51: Square piano by Casper Katholnig, Vienna c1815.
Starting price €100. Hammer price €750.
Lot 52: German square piano by Johann Matthias Schifmann, Dusemond (Brauneberg), c1780-1790.
Starting price €1800. Hammer price €5,000.
Lot 53: Unsigned small square pantalon (piano with no dampers), possibly northern Italy, c1770-1780.
Starting price €2200. Hammer price €7,500.
Lot 54: Pianino by Thomas Warker, Trier, c1845.
Starting price €10. Hammer price €600.
Lot 90: Upright piano (Wallclimber) by John Broadwood & Sons, London, 1852.
Starting price €300. Hammer price €1,600.
Lot 91: Fortepiano by Franz Rausch, Vienna, c1840.
Starting price €200. Hammer price €1,300.
Lot 93: Unsigned German square piano, c1780-1800.
Starting price €1800. Hammer price €5,000.
Lot 94: Fortepiano by Johann Heilmann of Offenbach, c1805.
Starting price €7000. Hammer price €18,000.
Lot 95: Unsigned “dog kennel” piano, probably southern Germany or Switzerland, c1840-1850.
Starting price €50. Hammer price €100.
Lot 97: Square piano by Johannes Broadwood, London, 1787.
Starting price €1500. Hammer price €7,500.
Lot 98: Fortepiano by Johann Georg Klein, Ockstadt near Frankfurt, c1810.
Starting price €6000. Hammer price €13,000.
Lot 101: Pianino by Johann Eichler, Oberweiler im Thal, Rhineland-Palatinate, c1860.
Starting price €10. Hammer price €45.
Lot 102: English square piano signed Guliemus Glover, London, 1776.
Starting price €1500. Hammer price €8,500.
Lot 103: Square piano by Johann Müller, Berlin, c1830.
Starting price €100. Hammer price €1,600.
Lot 104: Fortepiano with built-in Physharmonica (small harmonium with no stops) by Anton Tomaschek, Vienna, c1840.
Starting price €4400. Hammer price €65,000.
Lot 105: French style square piano by Brooks, Benfeld (Alsace), 1842.
Starting price €50. Hammer price €130.
Lot 109: Unsigned square piano from Saxony or Switzerland, c1800.
Starting price €1200. Hammer price €4,000.
Lot 110: Fortepiano (downstriking) attributed to Nanette Streicher, Vienna, c1827.
Starting price €7000. Hammer price €20,000.
Lot 112: Fortepiano by Johann Baptist Streicher, Vienna, c1850.
Starting price €900. Hammer price €4,600.
Lot 113: Unsigned French square piano, c1810.
Starting price €50. Hammer price €600.