Bow Appraisal/Authentication

March 14, 2007 at 10:52 PM · I own a Thomas Dodd, gold mounted, unlined violin bow with papers from Kenneth Warren and Son. I am considering selling it to purchase a bow more suitable for my current instrument. Where would you send it for a fresh appraisal?

Replies (24)

March 14, 2007 at 06:41 PM · The bow has had a cheval - otherwise in beautiful shape. Wood is Amarette. Anyone have any interesting tidbits?

Pictures available here

March 14, 2007 at 10:53 PM · Where do you live? If you live in Washington or somewhere near then I can help you.

March 14, 2007 at 10:56 PM · Try Salchow in NYC. Paul Childs can be a bit harder to get a hold of.

March 15, 2007 at 12:02 AM · Fred Oster in Philadelphia

March 15, 2007 at 12:20 AM · BTW Christopher,

the wood you are referring to is spelled amourette.

March 15, 2007 at 12:15 AM · morel and gradouxmatt in nyc

robertson and sons in albuquerque

j&a beare in dallas

March 15, 2007 at 12:20 AM · You can also check out Paul Siefried in Port Townsend as well.

If you were in Seattle, Rafael Carrabba and I are both members of Appraisers Association of America and are available for appraisals.

check out :

and see who is closest to you.

ps: Sean, are you in the appraisal business now?

March 15, 2007 at 01:05 AM · The Warren papers may suffice. Like it has been said before Paul Siefried or Paul Childs are excellent. J&A Beare in Dallas only has an office at this point there and would probably direct you to Siefried or Childs. Their main office in the states is now in NYC. Another thought if you just want an appraisal would be John Montgomery in Raleigh, NC.

March 15, 2007 at 01:17 AM · I'm confused? You mean are my violin and bow appraised?

March 15, 2007 at 02:00 AM · Sean,

you said:

"Where do you live? If you live in Washington or somewhere near then I can help you."

That can mean many things.


check out :

If you have a certificate for the bow already and just need an appraisal, any on the list in the area near you, should be fine.

March 15, 2007 at 02:49 AM · Ah, I see.

March 15, 2007 at 02:44 PM · Thank you for your input - I greatly appreciate it.

I believe I am going to send it to Salchow. I spoke to Isaac Salchow the other day and he believes it would be worth while to package it up and ship it.

I cannot afford the certificate right now - especially if the appraisal reaches into the $10k range that I have been told is possible if not probable.

I have taken this bow to two shops here in Atlanta and each disagrees as far as the origin. One thought it to be french, the other agreed with Kenneth Warren and described it as "text-book English bow-making." I would love to hear your opinions.

See pictures here

March 16, 2007 at 05:56 PM · Hi,

I have a Dodd bow myself, and the pictures do look very simliar to mine, apart from the extreme tip of it.

March 16, 2007 at 06:12 PM · Marianne,

Is yours a Thomas Dodd? I would love to see pictures if they are available!

March 24, 2007 at 07:40 AM · "I cannot afford the certificate right now - especially if the appraisal reaches into the $10k range that I have been told is possible if not probable."

Does this mean the appraisal fee is a percentage of the appraised value? I'm sorry, but this practice must be stopped. It's blatant conflict of interest. Why are we musicians tolerating it? Where is Elliot Spitzer when you need him?

March 24, 2007 at 11:46 AM · i inquired about that couple years ago from someone who is quite well known in the field, in nyc. i think he has a sliding scale, pretty much like everyone else that is up there reputation wise, of about 5-6%, as a fee againist the appraisal value.

on one hand, i would like to have one of those electronic scanners in home depot self check out counter that tells me immediately what the violin or bow is and is worth,,

on the other hand, if a he- says-she-says item all of sudden has a value of 50K backed by someone "universally" recognized, i don't mind paying 10%. may feel better if you think of the fee as insurance, something you pay to protect your interest, in a world that is yet ideal.

or, if i think i have a 50k item and the expert determines (accurately may i add) that it is worth 200 bucks, hey, i am saving some money!:)

you will find this sliding scale pretty much runs every facet in business... i know spitzer owns some small chunck of real estate in nyc and i bet he does not volunteer them to rent control.

March 24, 2007 at 02:12 PM · Before your question can be answered, here (IMHO) are some other questions that need answering first.

Do you want a verbal appraisal, a written appraisal, or a certificate? These are different types of documents (and some dealers differentiate a marketing appraisal from an insurance appraisal). And they bear different charges.

None of the dealers I have dealt with use a sliding scale for appraisals of value; there are flat fees (sometimes at different value levels, sometimes not). At least some reputable dealers list these on their web site. On the other hand, with a certificate the appraiser is in effect reconstructing history, and stating it as fact, which may require much more expertise and research. Thus, it isn't surprising that the fee for a certificate is much greater, though whether it is fair to charge a percentage of value is another question (why isn't it?).

You say the bow has "papers from Kenneth Warren and Son" (that would actually be James Warren now). What sort of papers? If an appraisal, you can always have it updated, sometimes without re-examination, since in my experience appraisers keep detailed descriptions of their past appraisals permanently on file. If you have a certificate from him, Warren is a reliable source, why do you need another certificate?

March 24, 2007 at 04:07 PM · well put Eric.

Getting a certificate and getting an appraisal are two very distinct and different things.

Writing a certificate requires more time and expertise, and it becomes a passport (of authenticity) to the instrument making an appreciable difference.

Therefore, when experts charge a percentage for a certificate, that is not the same as charging an Appraisal Fee.

I have not heard of a percentage for an appraisal. Do let us know which one you are talking about. Be specific.

March 25, 2007 at 08:40 PM · In the past, I had taken this bow to the two most recognized shops here in Altanta for a verbal appraisal. One agreed with the papers from Kenneth Warren (from 1976) claiming the bow was text book english bow making, the other disagreed citing that he believes it to be french. I don't know what kind of french bow maker would be working in Forster's shop - but that's another thread in itself.

I am looking for another shop with the reputation of KW & Son to support the original paperwork (and possibly sell/trade in favor of complimenting my current violin.)

In addition, it is preferable to have papers from living apprasisers as "fresh eyes" can discount old paperwork rendering it controversial if not useless. (This has happened.)

Salchow charges 5% for a certificate and $50 for an insurance appraisal. KW & son wants $125 for an ins. appraisal and (if I recall correctly) 10% for a cert. I am concerned that they may have a biased opinion due to the paperwork I currently hold and a fresh, qualified opinion may be the best idea.

Thank you for your posts and I am interested in hearing your thoughts!


March 26, 2007 at 06:29 AM · then go with Salchow, for a cert. and an appraisal.....

March 26, 2007 at 03:35 AM · Hi Chris,

Jim Warren's opinion stands on its own and he wouldn't let a shop certificate sway him. I was in a similar position to you recently, and he basically ignored the existing shop papers (which were signed by his father) until he gave me his own opinion. I'll admit I have more colleagues than I do experience, but none of them say a word against him.

March 26, 2007 at 06:20 AM · I have also had nothing but highly positive experiences with Warren. And Gennady is right, Salchow (in New York) would be a top choice for evaluating a bow.

One thought: if you plan to consign the bow for sale, the shop selling it will also give you their opinion as to the value and authenticity of the bow, since they must decide how they are going to represent it to potential buyers. That alone may be enough for your needs.

March 26, 2007 at 12:07 PM · That's a good point, Eric. Another idea to consider is that for an upgrade on the quality of your appraisal, you need to go to an upgraded appraiser, not just the local guy. Jim Warren is well-respected with bows, and you already have his opinion, so why would you want to know what someone less knowledgeable thinks? Not knowing who you went to who gave various other opinions, I wouldn't take them seriously if they weren't experts of Jim's level or above.

March 26, 2007 at 01:26 PM · Eric,

Thank you for that suggestion - I hadn't considered that as an option.


I appreciate your reply. let me clarify - On seperate occasions, I had the bow rehaired at the local shops I had mentioned. While there, we just had friendly conversation about what their take on the bow was. Reginald Williams, from Williams Gengakki Violins offered his "French bow" opinion - unprompted. At the next rehair I went to Stephanie Voss, who feels it is, without a doubt, English.

I have Ken Warren's opinion on the bow, not Jim's, which is more motivation to acquire a "living opinion" mentioned in my previous reply.

I have nothing against KW & Son. I have no real experience with them other than over the phone. I did not mean to suggest any question of integrity. I do know of some who have had skeptical dealing with KW - but I don't know how any shop can avoid the occassional disgruntled customer.

It looks like the best option is to bite the bullet and get the cert or offer it for consignment at Salchow's or KW's shop.

Again, I appreciate your suggestions and experience - Thank you,


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