E. Sartory cello bow with repaired head
I am currently looking into purchasing a cello bow by E. Sartory from a reputable dealer. He told me that the head of the bow has been repaired. Apparently the lower half of the head was detached at one point and had to be pinned and glued back. I was not able to spot the line where it cracked since the repair was done very well but the dealer was honest and told me there was work done on the bow. All the wood is original and all by E Sartory. He is asking $12,000 for the bow. Is that a reasonable price? The bow is the best bow I have ever played but I am hesitant about buying a bow that has that kind of major repair done to it. Any advice is much appreciated. [EDIT]
Two thoughts occur to me. 1) The usual valuation for a bow with a broken and repaired tip as you describe is a MAXIMUM of 30% of the value if it weren't broken. Would the unbroken bow be worth $40,000+? And 2) my understanding is that the most reliable repair for that type of break is done by installing a spline. The downside to a spline is that it's visible forever after. A pinned repair will likely fail again someday, and then it might be repaired with a spline but having been glued once before, and bored for the pins will leave it somewhat compromised. Doing it right the first time is always the best course of action. At very least I would get an expert second opinion about the condition of the repair, but experts are reluctant to offer opinions about another dealer's inventory. You might also consider asking your dentist to x-ray the tip for you, so you can see exactly what's going on. Anyway, perhaps you can begin to understand why a bow broken in that way takes such a valuation hit.
What is the mounting - silver/ gold? That goes into the determination of the value before the damage.
Sounds high. Do your homework before spending that kind of money. If you spend enough time looking, $12k will get you everything you want in a bow, twice over. Regarding damaged Satory bows, I'd check the Tarisio price history. Other auction houses will also have price histories. A number of them have sold over the recent years, and ones will pinned/splined heads are marked as such. The subscription will cost a few bucks, but I'd rather be out $50 than overpay by a few thousand. Also, dealer markup is lower for bows than for violins. Bows tend to fetch pretty close to retail prices at auction. My guess is there are fewer surprises that can occur when buying a bow. Good luck.
You can get free access to auction price histories at https://www.bromptons.co/reference/ Why pay Tarisio?
I don't know what Sartory cello bows cost, but when I was looking last year, Sartory violin bows without damage were in the $35k range. Cello bows are, as far as I know, usually more expensive.
Was it a complete break, or a partial crack? That will have a big difference in price too...
I'm not sure how informative X-rays are on wood; they would tell you where the pin was and how big; I m not sure what else - You may need ultrasound or NMR.
You should be also concerned whether this bow has good tone.
It's a very tricky thing to take something to another dealer and ask what they think of it. They want to sell you something of theirs and it is too tempting to put down something offered by a competitor. BUT, if at all possible, try to find someone very knowledgeable in your area who is somewhat disinterested, to look at the bow.
don't walk.... run away!
"Buy from a maker - with a new bow you know exactly what are you buying."
I didn't know Bromptons was free. Thanks for the tip!
As an experienced amateur wood worker, typically wood joints that are perpendicular to the grain are the weakest. Parallel to the grain (such as the joints used for the top and bottom plates) can be stronger than the wood itself. This is why there is a pin/spline that is installed in this case.
Mark Bouquet wrote:
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