Unoriginal Bow Parts

April 20, 2007 at 11:18 PM · How do

a) an unoriginal frog

b) an unoriginal button

or c) both

affect the value of a bow?

I am currently looking at a gold and tortoiseshell E.A. Ouchard with an unoriginal button in gold and ebony. Any ideas what I should expect price-wise?



Replies (39)

April 21, 2007 at 03:38 AM · Depends on the bow and some other factors... There are guidelines, but the entire picture (the example & condition as well as the originality of the parts) is what needs to be considered.

As a guideline for the specific replaced part you mentioned on an authentic E. A Ouchard if all else is OK; A replaced button may have a 5 to 10% effect, depending on the quality of the replacement.

April 21, 2007 at 01:43 PM · Im curious Jeff as to how much devaluation occurs when the frog is not original to the bow.

April 21, 2007 at 03:17 PM · "Im curious Jeff as to how much devaluation occurs when the frog is not original to the bow."

This is where things get a bit tricky, Peter. It will depend on if the "replacement" is another frog (from a different bow) by the maker, from the period, from the period in the style of, contemporary in the style of, or just "a frog that fits". Also, the mounting itself is at issue... If it's a fancy mount replacement frog & button, one wonders if the original mounts were of the same material...

As a general guideline: Staying with a nice French stick with ebony/silver mounting, a well made contemporary frog in the style of (made for the bow), and an example in reasonable condition, I'd estimate the effect will be 30 to 40%.

Conversely, if you bust the head on a good bow with original mountings, the guidelines for depreciation is about 70% (leaving the "retail" value of the mounts) after repair. The problem with all of this is that these %s are only guidelines. The maker/value/origin of the bow can sway them... and the "retail" values for parts are really the effect they have on the whole, not what a player can get on the open market. In other words, speaking with a good appraiser with the item in hand is a must.

April 21, 2007 at 03:38 PM · Thank you for that Jeff!! I asked the question because my Charles Peccatte bow is missing the original frog and adjuster.I was thinking of getting Paul Siefried to make a replacement.The stick is in good shape and plays so beautifully! How would Pauls' work affect the overall value of this bow(i.e is the outlay of cash worth the effort)?

April 21, 2007 at 04:55 PM · Well,I can't really answer that question without knowing the quality of the frog and button currently on the bow... but I can say Paul "is the guy" to make a contemporary replacement.

Between you and me, ecconomy isn't the only reason one decides to go to the trouble and expense of having a good replacement made anyway. It's probably not a functional issue, because as you mentioned, the bow plays well as it is... I'd guess that the desire to "better" it visually has more to do with your love of the bow.

April 21, 2007 at 05:53 PM · Ian,

All I can tell you is that a tortoiseshell frog can be a bit of a nightmare. You always worry about it being damaged, or your sweat staining it. That and the fact that $1500 or so to get a good replacement can be quite an investment, and when it comes time to resell, you have no guarantee that you'll get it back. With a G/T E.A Ouchard, I'm guessing the price is around 15k (maybe more?), so that $1500 is quite a hefty sum.

I can see it making more sense on an expensive bow, but for me that was too much. I should add though, that I don't hang on to stuff that long. My tastes are evolving and I've already been through 2 great bows in search of something more ideal.

April 21, 2007 at 06:54 PM · The quality of the frog and adjuster on the Peccatte is abismal.The mechanics are fine but they are obviously off a bow of much lower quality.I would be proud to have Paul make a frog and adjuster...

April 21, 2007 at 07:50 PM · So Pieter,

what are you evolving towards? now that you have owned an Ouchard and a Millant.

Perhaps an earlier French bow? like Voirin, Maline, Henry or Peccatte..........

BTW, I don't worry about my G/T bows...and I own a few.

They are insured, so why worry?! Enjoy them.

April 21, 2007 at 10:17 PM · Gennady,

I actually sold the Millant more because it was too stiff, and I bought that at a time where I made sort of a break through in my bowing only a few months later, and I realized I don't like the stiffness. So, I have been playing only on a Gilles Nehr for months, and have gotten used to a softer bow. It is just so much better once you get used to it.

So now I'm looking at very good Voirin as well as Adam. Maire and Maline are great too, but I don't have as much experience with them as Voirin.

D. Peccatte I cannot afford (unless I can find a broken one). And I once tried an F. Peccatte and it was shorter than normal, and that makes no sense for me since I'm 6'4. I never met a C Peccatte that I liked, but a dealer here told me that he's come across a few which are stellar. Luckily in this price range there are many possibilities.

As for gold tortoiseshell, I think it's so beautiful to look at that it would be a shame for me to darken the precious material because of me sweating. I took my bows to F. Malo and he actually told me that I sweat a lot less than other people, but I still think that such a bow is not for me, given that it would be one of only 2 bows. Maybe one day I can buy that GT Kitel I saw, but that's after a miracle happens.

So for all of you, I think you should decide what is important when you buy a bow like that. Obviously something like that E.A. Ouchard is quite an investment, so of course you should worry about a missing part. But, there are also a number of players who I have met, who don't care about that and just want a good playing stick. I've seen so many top bows sell for relative bargains because of damage and of great players take advantage of that, and that's great too. For me, I'm a baby and like to have my little collector's item so I want it to be fancy and prestine. Luckily, all of us have a lot of options.

April 22, 2007 at 01:55 PM · ng else is correct on the bow?

April 22, 2007 at 03:57 PM · "I don't know enough about "pinned" bows.Are they good investment potential,providing everything else is correct on the bow?"

Peter; see my post concerning depreciation above... Heads are more often repaired by use of a spline rather than a pin these days. I see repaired bows as "utilitarian". Can be a very good deal for the player (a great playing, repaired bow, low cost). not sure I'd classify then as "good investments" in terms of appreciation in value. The rarer items (that appeciate most rapidly) are those that have little or no damage.

April 22, 2007 at 05:31 PM · Thanks for that Jeff...

April 23, 2007 at 03:57 AM · "I only payed $12,000 for it, while if it had the original button it would go for around $18-$20,000!"

Ummm... with all due respect, if you purchased it in a retail venue, unless the seller is really out there and didn't know what they were doing... or did you a heck of a good turn... no...

An 18K quality Sartory with a replacement button would appraise at about $16,000 even on a bad day. The button has a 5 to 10 % effect on value... not a 30 to 40 % effect.

The seller may have given you a good deal, or more than the button is replaced, or it wasn't the quality of an 18K Sartory to begin with (not all Sartorys are worth 18 to 20, even with all original parts)... but a replacement button isn't the only factor here.

April 23, 2007 at 04:23 AM · I agree with Jeffrey on the button question... it is not in the same league as a replacement frog. I don't think there are that many $18k Sartory's around, either.

Some people with very very nice bows and elborate frogs have copies made. They use the copy and put the original in a safe place. From an investment perspective, this strikes me as a smart move.


April 23, 2007 at 04:35 AM · Eric:

I'm sure there are...especially if they are fancy. Buy I think $18k-$20k is above average.

Of course, prices change all the time...I may be behind the times!


April 23, 2007 at 05:33 AM · "I had Jay Ifshin in Berkeley, CA and Dalton Potter in Washington D.C. both tell me, after having some time to look at the bow, that had it been with an original button, it would go for about 18-20k."

... and appraised it for 12? Sorry. If they felt it was of that quality and that all that's wrong with the bow is a replaced button, with all due respect to Jay & Dalton, I can't really follow that one. Guess I know who I'll offer the next Sartory button I find to. :-)

Now, understand I wasn't there, but I CAN imagine Jay saying something like "A fine Sartory with all it's original parts can go for 18 or 20K". That doesn't translate to "Your Sartory with all it's original parts..." ... but as I said, I wasn't there.

You are correct, by the way, that a very fine s/e Sartory in excellent condition can fetch 18or 20K these days. It would have to be a fine one, however.

April 23, 2007 at 08:25 AM · I think 15-16k is pretty standard for a good silver mounted Sartory. Maybe in Japan you can get 20k?

April 23, 2007 at 01:59 PM · I agree with the difference between 12K and 18K being a bit high for the button only. While there are huge variations in price on certain bowmakers, for example I recently looked at two Voiran's, 1 was around 12K and the other was under 8K. Both were in good condition, but the 8K one was too light (55.8 grams) for most players. At many auctions, broken bows can be found from top makers of today as well as French masters of the past. The value of the frog and button are what makes these desirable. And, while finding a button, even from the same maker, and having it fit perfectly is not always the case, these broken sticks don't fetch anywhere close to 5-6K. In fact, if your bow would appreciate in value with a Sartory button by 6K, I would check with some top repair/restoration people. I'm sure someone like Jose DaCunha or Paul Schuback might have a Sartory button (or 2). Next time you're at Potter's, go downstairs and check with Bill Weaver, never can tell what he may have lying around also.

April 23, 2007 at 04:01 PM · "I think 15-16k is pretty standard for a good silver mounted Sartory. Maybe in Japan you can get 20k?"

Standard... as in "average" or "up to standard", right? Good as in "not exceptional", correct?

As I've already said, not all Sartory bows are worth 18 - 20K. Some of the finer ones are (here, NY, Japan, or wherever). Others (average ones; nice but not stellar) aren't.

April 23, 2007 at 04:40 PM · is anyone interested in frog & button by V.Fetique?

April 23, 2007 at 07:15 PM · Jeffrey,

Most of the Sartories I have seen in that category are from a time when he was consistently pumping out a type of bow that many people now find attractive. These are the "good" Sartorys, as you suggest. Silver mounted obviously, and the price seems to have stabalized around $15k, at least where I've looked in NYC, Chicago, and Philly. I've seen more expensive Sartories but usually they have special mountings, or in one case, a fairly early example which was a copy of some older french master. I've just never observed such a steady price for any maker of any kind of instrument. I think one dealer told me that Sartory is pretty much the lowest margin thing they can sell.

Of course these are only my observations which comes from obsessive bow hunting. Usually if I see a silver mounted Sartory for something like 18k, it's almost always in a small town or somewhere here up in Canada where prices are sometime adorably unrealistic. I might be wrong and obviously this is not an expert opinion, but I do have quite an acute recollection of what I see, and of course, how much it costs.

Therefore I have to agree that 20k for a regular Sartory (with the missing button) makes no sense.

April 23, 2007 at 10:28 PM · There are also Sartories that are copies of Tourte that are exquisite and are very expensive. Their range is in a different category ofcourse.


BTW Angelo,

Very fine F.N.Voirins are more between 18K-21K, especially when they are 60g-62g. And if they are picture bows and or G/T, they are considerably more.

I know that at least 6 years ago, a very fine silver mounted F.N.Vorin (for Vuillaume shop) 61g, sold for 21K.

April 23, 2007 at 10:43 PM · Not to change the subject, but what about an original frog with a cheval?

April 24, 2007 at 12:16 AM · Gennady,

I've been looking at very good Voirin at around that weight as well, and it seems to me as if that's where the price is now, but just a little higher, around 25k for well preserved pieces. Personally, I think that's the most "bow" you can get for that kind of money.

April 24, 2007 at 12:38 AM · Voirin's are great bows in that price range and in that weight category.

But if you try Maline, Persois, Pajeot, Henry, it is a differnet feel as well. Voirin is a mix of old and new concepts. Afterall he was considered the "Modern Tourte" of his time. Still greatly under valued.

April 24, 2007 at 01:04 AM · I agree. I think that people can get fantastic use out of modern bows which go back to old principles. So, you definately don't need an old bow, but I think the older models are so much better than the modern models of Ouchard, Lamy and Sartory. I am generalizing, but generally I find these bows dissapointing.

So, I think old is the way to go, at least for me, whether by a modern maker or the originals.

The problem with Henry, Maline and Persois is that the price range is beyond most Voirin, so while it's great to try them out, for most of us it isn't really in the cards until later on in life. But, in only 3 years I've "traded up" so to speak quite a bit, so it might not be that long.

April 24, 2007 at 04:45 AM · glad to see you are maturing Pieter.

You are realizing that a more flexible bow makes a more beautiful sound.

It is like that for most of us.

First we play on crap. Then we graduate to a Bazin, Ouchard, Fetique & or Sartory or Lamy.

As we mature, we begin to see the light in the older 19th century greats, such as Voirin, Maline, Henry, Simon, Fanclause, Persois, Pajeot, Peccatte and Tourte.

It is quite normal. The thing to remember is that what you may like now may not be what others like at that point in time.

April 24, 2007 at 04:55 AM · From Eric:"Can anybody recommend someone reliable in the Cleveland area??"

I grew up in Cleveland. And I'd say, no, I wouldn't. I can definitely tell you who to stay away from, but I'd probably get sued.

April 24, 2007 at 05:22 AM · Yea... many of the conservatory students I meet at my age use Sartory/Ouchard... some might use Tubbs. If not those, then bows that are a lot like them (modern)...

April 24, 2007 at 10:03 PM · Eric;

I probably wouldn't ask who to stay away from... especially on a public access discussion board. The real question, in this case, is who to go to. :-)

I am very aware of the situation in Cleveland... Why not ask the teacher you'll be studying with (Paul Kantor?, David Updegraff? Annie Fullard?) where they go (and send their students) for restoration and appraisals.

"Not to change the subject, but what about an original frog with a cheval?"

Hi Christopher. Depends on how deep the cheval is... Rather than end up posting a chart of depreciation guidelines... I'll just say the depreciation is more than a missing button, and less than a mssing frog. Just see someone qualified with bow in hand and you'll get a much better answer than this general one.

April 25, 2007 at 12:21 AM · It's typical in my experience for teachers, at least in colleges, to recommend most of the luthiers in town in turn, to stay on the good side of all of them. The best bet would probably be to ask all the students, really.

April 25, 2007 at 01:30 AM · Not really... just ask where Mr. Preucil sends his bow... chances are he isn't using a Coda...

April 25, 2007 at 03:06 AM · In my experience if you phrase it that way to try and trick them, they give you the name of somebody far, far away...

April 25, 2007 at 10:15 PM · Gennady: I think one arrives at makers such as Simon, Maline, Peccatte, etc. because of eventual availability of funds, not maturity of taste. I have played on other players' bows by Maline, D. Peccatte, Simon, etc. and appreciate the workmanship, but I am unable to shell out 35K+ for one of these makers' bows, unless it's broken, in which case we enter a whole new realm of issues. But in the end, I hope that if I'm judged by my Ouchard that people assume that I'm poor and not that I can't appreciate anything finer.

I do, however, take your point and without offense.

April 25, 2007 at 10:55 PM · Ian...

That isn't what he or I said. As you know, you can get a Peccatte or Tourte model from a top bowmaker for a 3rd of the price of your Ouchard. I'm just saying that most people my age prefer more stiff stick, often with more weight near the tip and a lower ferrule. Control and power is favored over sound and finesse. Anyone who would judge you on the basis of what equipment you use is an idiot, and I don't think anyone is doing that here.

April 26, 2007 at 12:51 AM · second that....

April 26, 2007 at 04:51 PM · Gennady, thanks for your info on current Voirin prices. My expertise is with the bows on a different level down the bow chart, and the Voirin I have available is that light one, which is a great bargain, but only if you like a REALLY light bow so the pricing is not indicative of what a bow of his would be given a more acceptable weight. One question, since some early Lamy's are closer to Voirin's in style, would that make them more or less valuable?

April 26, 2007 at 05:35 PM · "One question, since some early Lamy's are closer to Voirin's in style, would that make them more or less valuable?"

I've seen a number of late Voirin bows that may well be early Lamys... :-)

Answer to your question is that it depends on the specific bow.

April 27, 2007 at 04:57 AM · thanks Jeffrey,

The Lamy's that tend to be on the high end, are the exhibition bows.

As for light Voirin's, that is unfortunately the reason why prices for Voirin have not come up to the levels of Maline & Simon.

He catered to the tastes of the time, and many violinists in Paris were looking for lighter bows as they offer ease of execution. It was the trend.

Thank goodness he left a good deal of bows in 59g-62g.

By the 1880's, the trend was shifting again towards heavier but now more stiffer bows.

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