Kev Kendal – Auctioneer, Saleroom Co-ordinator and Valuer.

Kev takes the lead on our musical instrument and equipment valuations, particularly on private collections. Kev also works alongside independent valuer, Simon Norfolk on our specialist Musical Instruments, Equipment and Collectable Vinyl auctions.

Here’s Kev’s description of his musical and 1818 Auctioneers journeys:

“Music has always been a part of my life, and for as long as I can remember I have sung, strummed and immersed myself in it through both the dark and the happy times in life.

I sang in the school choir and picked up my first guitar as a teenager, which was light relief to my family who had previously had to endure me messing around on the family piano for hours on end. Eventually, I picked up an electric Encore from JHS and spent many an hour playing this at the top of the garden through a little battery-powered Vox amp, I say little, it was certainly loud enough to “entertain” the whole village!

Once I could play three or four chords, I inevitably began to form and play in bands, appearing at school and village concerts in different guises in the subsequent years.

Eventually, in the early 90s, the band which most people know me from was formed, and after a couple of line up and name changes “SOUND” hit the road. At first, we played any old covers (usually quite badly) but eventually settled on playing “Mod and Britpop” classics and our own material. We had reasonable success on a fairly local level until, eventually, we broke up due to family commitments in 2007.

Music was still there in the background and I even had a flirtation with a certain TV talent show, The X Factor, as a duo with an old school friend with whom I formed the long-distance duo “Class Apart”. Suffice to say we didn’t make it to the live finals but it was a great experience.

I also joined a local theatre group in my home town of Sedbergh during this break. Rose Theatre, who up until last year had put on musical comedies each Spring, such as “Spar Wars”, “Pirates of Pinfold” and “Tantrum of the Opera!” This certainly was a confidence boost, meeting new people, learning new music, and performing to an audience again. My son had also shown an interest in music and theatre at this stage and we have enjoyed many an hour on stage and backstage together, performing in and latterly directing shows.

In 2012, I decided to launch myself back onto the local music scene as a solo artist, though I didn’t actually feel confident to go out gigging again for quite a while after. Following a radio interview, I dubbed myself the Acoustic Mod and that’s the genre I mainly play today, mod classics with an acoustic twist, along with self-penned original material, and the occasional off the wall cover.

I mainly perform at local pubs and festival gigs nowadays but have also been fortunate enough to play support slots for From The Jam, which was a dream come true. And I also supported The Blockheads and Dodgy. The Great British Food Festival has taken me all across the country and I am very proud that my son, who now plays keys with me, can say he played at Knebworth with his Dad!

I am very lucky that through my day job, at 1818 Auctioneers, I am able to be a part of the music auctions every few months.

The sales usually consist of 200-300 lots of Instruments, Equipment, Vinyl Records and Memorabilia.

Simon has an unbelievable depth of knowledge on vinyl records, which is his speciality, so I have the pleasure of handling the instruments section.

I love the buzz of the music auctions – the mix of familiar faces from the local music scene at the viewing, and meeting new people from further afield who travel to see what we are selling. All of us are fuelled by a shared love of music. Whether an artist, a trader or just a music lover, whatever level and whatever genre, there is a common bond.

It also gives me an opportunity to see a lot of instruments up close that I would never otherwise be able to, and could only dream of ever owning or even playing.

I was very excited when I was asked to initially value and then later auction one of the most comprehensive and varied one-owner collections of instruments I have ever seen. It came through the saleroom earlier this year on behalf of a deceased estate.

The first van load appeared and at that point, I knew we must be onto something special as I just kept making discovery after discovery. Guitars, Amplifiers, Banjos, Ukuleles, A Lute, Saxophones in every voice, Brass instruments and literally dozens of recorders (the recorders were lotted in batches and went on to sell for a total of over £4,000).

One of the first items I uncased was a 1940s Gibson L5 Archtop acoustic guitar, considered to be the cream of the crop from the Big Band Era. It had been well played but was still sounding very special – it sold for £2,600. Also in this first batch was a Mastertone Banjo which I carefully took apart to reveal was from circa 1925, it sold for £1,200. Among the later instruments was a “full set” of Fenders from 2016 , Stratocaster and Telecaster Electrics, Precision and Jazz Basses. A beautiful Guild Artist Award Archtop acoustic guitar in natural finish dating as 1997 was another of the more modern highlights selling for £2,400.

My favourite lot was probably the early 20th Century Ukulele, which bore labels for the CF Martin company, it was a real cutie and played like a beauty but with some doubt over its authenticity, it sold for a modest £270.

The Collings OM2H Koa Koa, which was handcrafted in Texas, was also both aesthetically and aurally magnificent, and this was reflected in the sale price of £2,850.

The banjos also included a collection of 6 handcrafted instruments from Stacey and it later transpired, when Staceys got in touch with me, that four of them had in fact been constructed using 1920s Vega bodies with the addition of reproduction Vega style necks by Dave Stacey himself. The others were built in a similar style. These sold between £600 and £850 each.

I was also contacted by another friend of the deceased while preparing the catalogue and it was only at this point that I realised that he had given me my first guitar lessons way back over thirty years ago. This was a great connection and added a special meaning to the auction for me.

We still have a number of instruments from the same collection for inclusion in a future auction. They fall into the CITES category, which requires a permit due to the use of Brazilian rosewood in their construction. These include a 1969 Martin D-28, a 1956 Martin 000-18 and a selection of classical guitars. I’m looking forward to selling them when we reopen.”