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George Craske Violin

Instruments: A dealer has offered me a George Craske Violin. I would like to know the current price range that his violins attract. How would I go about finding this? Ian

From Ian Williams
Posted August 10, 2008 at 09:07 PM

A dealer has offered me a George Craske Violin. I would like to know the current price range that his violins attract. How would I go about finding this?

Ian

From Scott Cole
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 12:31 AM
Ian,
I used to own a Craske. When I go back and listen to recital tapes, I realize I should have kept it. Oh well.

Anyway, I did see one or two recently advertised and I believe they went for maybe $15-16?

From Bob Annis
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 01:30 AM
I reviewed a list of auction prices for this maker. His violins sell at auction in the 3-9000 range; there was one retail sale listed for 12K. Average price seemed to be around 5K.

Interestingly enough, while a half-dozen of his instruments have come up for auction since 1999, not one of them has sold. (At least on the list I saw).

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 02:01 AM
5 seems really low for any name that well-known.
From Bob Annis
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 02:45 AM
Maybe a bit low, but remember that these prices date from pre-2000. And of course auction prices (back then, anyway) were pretty much wholesale.

But the fact that a half dozen violins since then failed to make their reserve might indicate that the Craske market is rather soft this century.

From Ian Williams
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 07:24 AM
Ok, well this UK dealer is asking £10,000. So this seems like it may be more than the market value.

I think perhaps I need to take it to a third party valuer.

From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 02:04 PM
Bob A. wrote: "Interestingly enough, while a half-dozen of his instruments have come up for auction since 1999, not one of them has sold. (At least on the list I saw)."

The auction sales list I just reviewed listed about 24 sales since 2000... maybe you have a more limited list?

Anyway, there are a few interesting points to keep in mind about Craske. He was a recluse, a VERY prolific maker (made around 3,000), and his output varied... as did the models he produced. In addition, the Hill workshop purchased the remaining unsold and partially completed instruments upon his death. Many of those I see have Hill scrolls, evidence of other work from the shop, and/or Hill/Craske labels (which often bear a "grading" code). Also, most of the Craske instruments I see at auction require a good deal of TLC (and the cost of restoration work adds up quickly)... which performed correctly, on a good example, can add value well over the sales room hammer price "as is".

Yes, it's a good idea to get an independent valuation if you're not familiar with the market of a specific maker's instruments. Nice to know you're paying the right price in the end.

Cheers!

Jeffrey

J. S. Holmes Fine Violins, LLC

From Ian Williams
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 06:16 PM
The instrument has plenty of marks to indicate the age, but is generally in sound condition. This instrument has a Hill label inside, but no grading. How can I tell if this is a Hill scroll or a Craske scroll?
From Jeffrey Holmes
Posted on August 11, 2008 at 08:23 PM
I'd say you should rely on the independent for that information. If your third party appraiser knows Craske's work, they'll have an opinion.
From andrew weinstein
Posted on August 12, 2008 at 12:55 PM
Some of the Hill labeled ones say special quality, and generally those have the Hill scrolls, which is rather confusing for value. There is also a wide range of sizes he made, more than half being over 360 mm, and this affects value as well.