Advice for selling violin?

September 19, 2017, 11:04 AM · As a result of an injury and love for cello, I'm attempting to sell my violin / bow. The violin is a Sofia grande, purchased for somewhere between $2500-3000. The bow was $500.

I contacted two shops near Dallas -- one told me my best bet was to try selling it myself. The other offered to try to sell it for $1800, before the 20% consignment fee.

Presently I have them listed together on ebay for $2400, and craigslist for $2200.

You can see it here: https://littlerock.craigslist.org/msg/6291902946.html

Should I stick with this strategy and be patient? Am I charging too much, too little?

Replies (22)

September 19, 2017, 11:53 AM · I think you're being reasonable, and I think you're doing well.
September 19, 2017, 12:35 PM · I don't think it will ever sell on ebay for prices like that, IMHO 90% of the stuff you see on ebay, buy it now, isn't selling.
September 19, 2017, 1:11 PM · How long have you been selling? How soon do you need the money?
September 19, 2017, 2:18 PM · I agree that your best bet is to try to sell it yourself. Arm yourself with patience and keep the price firm.
September 19, 2017, 2:24 PM · One problem is that if it lingers for a long time on eBay or Craigslist eventually everyone will have seen it lingering there without selling, and come to the conclusion that it isn't worth the price. Unfortunately I don't have a solution to this problem.
September 19, 2017, 2:58 PM · If you list on Ebay, if it doesn't move after a week or two, remove the listing and list it again for 5% less. Repeat until it sells.
Edited: September 19, 2017, 4:41 PM · If OP decreases violin price by 5% after every 2 weeks, after how many weeks will violin's price be 0?

Do not succumb to the pressure. It is a Bulgarian maker, not a Chinese workshop.


Edited: September 19, 2017, 3:49 PM · Craigslist is different from eBay. Unlike eBay, the buyer has to contact the seller so the buyer can claim the instrument. The buyer can try the instrument at the seller's place. Also, I have heard that reverb.com is a good solution for you.
September 19, 2017, 4:39 PM · Also consider ebay and paypal fees + shipping with insurance.
September 19, 2017, 6:20 PM · Rocky, it still seems like more of a commodity instrument. For one like that, you can either wait a long time for the right buyer, or discover the market price and move it at that level. If he gets to say 50 or 40% and it's still not selling, then it might just be that a used instrument like that really isn't worth buying without being able to be seen in person, and in that case consignment is probably the best bet, although after costs he probably won't get more than 50% anyway.
September 19, 2017, 6:29 PM · My usual expectation is to be selling a student-grade violin for 60% of what I paid. So, if you bought it for $2500-3000, the offer of the dealer to sell it on consignment for $1800 seems spot-on. Their fee compensates for you not having to do the actual work of showing it.
September 19, 2017, 8:06 PM · Sofia violins are workshop-made in Bulgaria, and then shipped in the white to be finished in the US. They are student-grade instruments.

Paul is right. The consignment seems to be a fair offer.

Your other option might be trading it in towards a cello at the shop where you bought it. That's your greatest likelihood of getting a good deal.

September 19, 2017, 9:22 PM · good advice, Lydia
September 20, 2017, 8:33 AM · Dealers are not fussed about selling low value instruments on consignment. There is very little profit in it for them. They would rather sell a brand new Chinese violin with their 1000% mark up, then sell a used student instrument.
Talk to your violin teacher as he/she may have a student looking for an instrument. Put up signs at school music programs and community orchestras. You may get a bite.

Cheers Carlo

September 20, 2017, 11:56 AM · I stand corrected after Lydia's post.

Still do not know what does "commodity instrument" stands for.

September 20, 2017, 2:20 PM · Thanks for the advice. I lowered the price for craigslist to be more in line with what I'd make on ebay -- I'd rather sell it locally anyways.

I think I'll try the patience strategy for maybe a year, and then either lower my price and/or try consignment. And try reverb.com.

I'm not in a hurry to sell it. Definitely not where I'd be considering adjusting the price every couple of weeks.

I moved away from the shop that offered to sell it for $1800, so probably I should see what the other shops here say (there's three, all ~100 miles away from me).

Concerning the violin itself, my understanding is that it's made by a single Bulgarian maker employed by a workshop. Not churned out assembly-line style in a factory.

September 20, 2017, 2:25 PM · Trading it in for a cello would be my preferred option, but I'd have to remember where I bought it, take a ~2000 mile round trip, and find some way to convince them that I bought it from them.
September 20, 2017, 4:07 PM · I believe a reputable shop will not need to see a receipt. They should have a record of the sale and they should honor their trade-up policy if they have one.
September 21, 2017, 4:17 AM · Rather than taking the 2000-mile round trip, if you find a local shop for your cello they will probably take the violin as trade. Might as well ask; at least you'd get the credit for the new instrument immediately instead of waiting for it to sell.
Edited: September 21, 2017, 2:13 PM · If it's not too personal... what kind of injury made you stop playing the violin?

How did you make the decision to switch to cello and stop playing violin?

Edited: September 21, 2017, 2:13 PM · Da capo
September 21, 2017, 2:48 PM · I suppose it's worth asking if other shops will let me trade it in.

Regarding my injury, it's some kind of tendon issue in my left wrist, causing pain when I play.

I tried modifying my playing angles and doing eccentric weight exercises meant to repair tendons. But nothing really helped enough, and it was too limiting.

I always loved the cello and considered switching to it for the sound anyways, so it was an easy decision.

At this point, I wouldn't guess that I still have the injury, since it's *only* playing violin that sets it off. In fact I was wondering not long ago if maybe it was just better now, until I tried my violin with the new bridge and soundpost adjustment. It didn't take long to remember why I stopped.


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