Philip Kass

February 27, 2007 at 12:56 AM · Is Phillip Kass an important expert/appraiser? I just heard of him today in an article related to Machold and Bein and Fushi.

Also, is Machold really having struggles with their financial situation?


Replies (15)

February 27, 2007 at 12:57 AM · Paul, where did you read the article?

February 27, 2007 at 01:48 AM · Phil is a very important authority. His knowledge of instruments and makers is an almost unfathomable resource. He was an associate at Wm. Moenning and Sons for many years. I would trust his opinion any day.

February 27, 2007 at 02:02 AM · Paul:

David pretty well sums up his reputation. He and Moennig parted company, I think, about 5 years ago. I have a feeling that the Moennig who was running things then (I think it was W. Moennig III, father of a star of the "The L Word", who is now deceased) was not the easiest person in the world to work for.

He is very active in the VSA and other such organizations and I believe was recently asked by Curtis to give some classes on violins.

I've not seen him name much on attributions/certificates, etc. Perhaps that is changing. Others more up on this sort of thing than I may be able to shed some light on this.


February 27, 2007 at 02:27 AM · Phillip Kass is a very important expert/appraiser.

He has written many important publications/articles on makers-instruments etc.

February 27, 2007 at 03:38 AM · Laurie:

Thanks for the answers concerning Mr. Kass. I'm sorry for asking those questions about experts but I'm just starting to read about this lately. What about Mr. hersh in Chicago?

February 27, 2007 at 04:56 AM · Paul:

I suspected that you were talking about Machold's relationship to this NJ Symphony business. But the article you reference is old news. Unless there has been something recently, my understanding is that Machold is doing business as usual. About the only interesting thing I am aware of is that Machold closed its NYC location and opened one in Chicago (same building as Bein and Fushi) a year or two ago. One of the people who worked in the NY office posts here sometimes. Maybe he can shed light on that. The rumor (and it is very much that) was that the move was strictly a business decision.

As for Mr. Hersh, I have never talked with him, but do know that he markets himself as kind of a consultant to buyers and sellers -- someone for you to hire if you want expertise in this rather opaque business. His reputation is good. At one time, Joseph Silverstein's son, Mark, worked for him. That may still be the case. I have no idea what he charges for his services or even how he works.


February 27, 2007 at 05:37 AM · I've dealt with Phillip Cass many times over the years, probably going back more than 20 years from when I bought my first violin at Moenigs. I think he's a very knowledgeable and trustworthy expert. One of the few people out there that I'd really trust.

February 27, 2007 at 10:12 PM · BTW,

As I stated earlier, Phil Kass has written some very important articles regarding makers and instruments which have become part of VSA publication(s).

Here are some of the articles such as the Bisiach family which I have posted before in discussion:

or find it here:

The Bisiach Family

The Modern Neopolitan School

ps: on a personal note, Phil Kass along with J. Holmes, have been instrumental

in my becoming a member of the Appraisers Association of America.

March 11, 2007 at 09:05 PM · Here are some more articles written by P.J.K. Articles published in the Journal of the Violin Society of America

Book Reviews

Baese, Geary: Classic Italian Violin Varnish Vol 9 #2, p. 203-4

Comas, Ramon Pinto: Los Luthiers Espanoles Vol 10 #3, p. 169-173

Hamma, Walter: The Violin Makers of the German School Vol 9 #2, p. 201-2

Moschella, Ciro: Liuteria Italiana Moderna dall’Ottocento

al Novecento Vol 10 #3, p. 169-173

Regazzi, Roberto: The Manuscript on Violin Making by Giovanni

Antonio Marchi Vol 9 #2, p. 202-3

Stradivari e la Liuteria Cremonese dall’USSR Vol.10 #3, p. 169-173

Yokoyama, Shinichi: Three books on the Great Collections of

Washington DC Vol 8 #2, p. 152-4


In memoriam: Albert J. Kaplan Vol 6 #3, p. 109-12

In memoriam: Mark Reindorf Vol 13 #2, p. 229-31

On Society meetings

Exhibition of pre-1900 American Stringed Instruments

(part of 1976 Convention/Competition) Vol 2 #4, p. 70-83

Report on the Regional Meeting of the Society Vol 5 #2, p.76

On Instrument and Bow Makers

The Stati d’Anime of San Faustino in Cremona:

Tracing the Amati Family 1641-1686 Vol 12 #1, p. 3-85

Commentary on the instruments of the Bergonzi family and

Storioni (incorporated within Duane Rosengard’s article on

the later Cremonese makers) Vol 12 #1, p. 112-45

Stringed Instruments of the Milanese Liutai of the

Contrada Larga Vol 14 #3, p. 43-102


French Bows of the 19th Century

The Gemunder Family of Violin Makers Vol 6 #3, p. 36-58

(Speech at Music Mountain Convention 1982)

19th Century English Bowmakers of the Dodd & Tubbs Families Vol 10 #3, p. 99-139

(Speech at Oberlin Convention 1989)

The Violin Trade in 1992: An Economic Overview

(Speech at Carlisle Convention/Competition 1992) Vol 13 #1, p. 137-54

Modern Historical Research: The Violin as Art

(Speech at Connecticut joint meeting 1993) Vol 13 #2, p. 11-32

Bow Making and Microphotography

(Speech at Columbus Convention 1993) Vol 13 #3, p. 169-96

The Pressenda Family

(Speech at Boiling Springs Convention 1995) Vol 15 #1, p. 45-100

Nicolo Amati: His Life and Times

(Speech at Albuquerque Convention/Competition 1996) Vol 15 #2, p. 139-98

Violin Making in Turin 1800-1870

(Speech at Cincinnati Convention/Competition 2000) Vol 17 #3, p. 27-56

Panel Discussion on the Messiah Stradivari

(at Cincinnati Convention/Competition 2000) Vol 17 #3, p. 181-222

Philip J. Kass

Expert and Author on Fine Stringed Instruments and Bows

25 Year Associate of William Moennig & Sons, Ltd.

Appraisals and Certification

Member, Appraisers Association of America

March 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM · There's a world of difference between being a good and prolific writer and being an expert.

By the way, at Robert Bein's memorial service yesterday, Charles Beare rated Robert as one of the top six experts of all time--something that many lower level violinists never caught onto during his life, I think.

March 12, 2007 at 12:26 AM · Michael,

many including B. Millant, consider Phil to be top notch.

As to your statement, I believe Phil may be both.

I wonder what you think about Duane Rosengard - member of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1986 (Double Bass section).

Mr. Rosengard’s hobbies include the study of stringed instruments and their makers; and, since 1985, he has devoted much of his spare time to the study of Italian double basses from the 16th to 20th centuries. The results of Mr. Rosengard’s research have been published in journals and magazines in Italy, England, and the United States.

His most recent book is a biography of 18th-century Italian violinmaker Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, entitled Giovanni Battista Guadagnini: The Life and Achievement of a Master Maker of Violins, which was published in 2000. He is also the author of Contrabbassi cremonesi – Cremonese double basses, which appeared in an Italian-English edition in 1992.

March 12, 2007 at 01:05 AM · I doubt very much that Duane would consider himself an expert. He's a researcher and an author, but as I just said, and I think he would be the first to admit, that is not the same as being an expert.

Your ideas on this topic of expertise, which we've discussed before, are amusing for their unconventionality, but unfortunately they don't reflect any reality out there in the real violin world.

I leave for you the last word, which you will surely require, as usual . . . .

March 12, 2007 at 02:15 AM · Michael,

I stated no opinions on Duane R.

He is an excellent researcher, and has added tremendous scholarship to our literature. I am sure you'd agree. Plus he is an active musician. Fancy that?!

(I guess you missed my point as far as: "many lower level violinists never caught onto during his life").

As far as P.J.K., I must disagree with you. I also see that others disagree with you including David Russel.

But you are welcome to your opinion.

When Fritz Reuter was asked if he thought there was an appraiser in the world that had both the expertise and ethics to fairly and accurately authenticate and appraise the Axelrod collection now owned by the NJSO, the only name Fritz said came to mind was Phillip Kass.

ps:I'd like to hear your opinion of Charles Beare.

March 12, 2007 at 04:00 PM · I agree with the earlier comments. I bought my Bazin bow from him at Moenings. He was extremely knowledgeable and was very courteous and professional. Plus, he didn't give me that "shady" violin dealer vibe.

March 12, 2007 at 05:58 PM · BTW Michael,

as far as the real world, I am sure you are aware that I am very much in the real violin world.....

Gennady Filimonov

member, Appraisers Association of America

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