Any advice on selling a violin? Please help
I am posting this on behalf of my father who cannot speak English fluently. I am just a student. I am not a musician and my knowledge in this area is essentially non-existent.
My father purchased a violin by Lorenzo Ventapane, Naples c 1840 for $100,000 from a dealer/expert shop in Chicago in 2005 for my sister. Long story short, my sister became ill, and our family decided that she can no longer play the violin in 2011.
In May of 2011, we entered into a consignment agreement with the same dealer/expert shop in Chicago. It has been 7 years, but the violin has not been sold yet. Our family is going through a very rough time recently as my father's small business recently closed down and he is struggling financially.
I want to help my father sell this violin so that he won't have to declare bankruptcy. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments. I live in New York City now. Is there anything I can do to maximize my chance of selling the violin? I would like to know what options are available. Thank you. My email address is email@example.com
I am no expert on selling violins, but seven years is ridiculously long. I'd be taking the violin back and looking for another dealer. Does your family have papers for this violin, and if so, from whom?
You could consider auctioning the violin instead. You should find out what's been happening in those seven years, though. What's preventing it from selling?
The problem with auctions is that often they trade for less that retail. The history of this maker in auctions is good, but not to bring back the paid money. https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/price-history/?Maker_ID=788
Indeed, but there's the trade-off for "get less money now" versus "get more money later when it's much less useful", in the OP's case.
Dealers buy instruments at violin auctions and often pay 20% over the hammer price. And then sellers can pay hefty commissions, too, as much as 20%. So, for example, if a violin sells for a hammer price of $10,000, the buyer pays the auction house $12,000, the auction house pays the seller $8,000, and the auction house makes $4,000. Nothing wrong with this; the auction houses need to make a profit.
Violins, like boats, are famously illiquid. What's the joke? The second happiest day of your life is buying it, and the first happiest is...selling it.
I agree with the auction idea.
In which kind of condition is the violin? 7 years is really quite some time ...
Take it to Tarisio in NYC...they auction violins, but also do private sales for some high end stuff. They will discuss reserve price and estimates. Another good, honest shop in NYC is David Segal. Regardless of where you put it, make sure whoever has the violin will check the set-up and make sure it's sounding and playing well! Good luck!
Tempted to keep silent.... but: keep in mind that good violins appreciate over time. Do not succumb to the pressure and do not disclose your financial situation.
The dealer is mentioned upthread and is exactly who I thought it would be.
The problem with violins is that they really are non-liquid. They need to get matched to the right owners, which can take a long time to come along.
In regards to the comment "do tell the name of dealer in Chicago, so we can all avoid it like a plague," I do not think it is appropriate at all to slander a dealer here when you don't know the whole story or the circumstances of the arrangement.
I was just looking back in this thread, and re-read Scott's comment about dealer motivation regarding price.
I think that's true of direct sales from a dealer, but a consignment is client-priced, isn't it?
100k sounds like there are already some discount reasons which might take all collectors out of the game.
FYI, in my experience, B&F wanted to make some very significant set-up changes to the violin I was selling, that they felt would materially improve the sound. I agreed to let them do as they saw fit. (The violin was already pretty optimally set up from my perspective, previously, but since I wasn't intending to ever play it again, I reckoned "do whatever will get me the most money" was reasonable.)
If you have the guts to issue papers claiming that violin is such and such and worth x dollars, you better be able to sell it for the same amount minus commission you took during the 1st deal. Conflict of interest in issuing papers for instrument your are selling aside, if you commission was unreasonably high, how on Earth will you do the math this time without disclosing it?
There's an argument to be made that after more than a year or two at a particular dealer, that it's worthwhile to consign it elsewhere. In that time period, the dealer will have already shopped the violin to their usual clients, so now you're just hoping that the right buyer will randomly wander by the shop. B&F usually does one-year consignment contracts, as far as I know, so the OP has no obligation to leave it there.
Lydia wrote: "Violin buyers are all kind of quirky, and they are not doing the equivalent of buying the car. They are doing the equivalent of choosing a spouse."
"They are doing the equivalent of choosing a spouse."
It's the same as choosing a spouse. . . if you feel that you can trade in your spouse for a different one in a year or two, or sell spouse if same doesn't fill all your needs.
It's more like choosing a house, realistically speaking. :-)
A house--yes, I can go with that.
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