It is my experience that when you take an instrument in to a dealers (and I've witnessed other people doing this too) that the dealer looks over the instrument and decides whether he/she likes it. Comments about being interested in the instrument or not interested are then stated, and they might give an opinion as to the provenance and the value.
This is all done by visual inspection and their opinion/valuation/appraisal is in my experience only a visual one. They never actually hear what the instrument is capable of, how it plays or how it sounds. They might think it a wonderful example of a certain school or maker, without realising it may sound pretty dire. They may think it a really awful example and be worthless but at the same time not knowing that it had a wonderful sound.
Is this the same everywhere, or just in the UK? It seems here that the so called experts only go on looks, and never have a clue about sound. That's why some instruments that they have for sale are priced low, but can sound excellent, and why a lot of beautiful looking instruments are expensive and sound awful. A dealer was surprised yesterday when I said that his two new violins he was promoting had poor sound and were dissapointing (and overpriced in my opinion).
Has the world, or at least the UK, gone mad, and only judges instrumental value on particular makers who may be in favour, or whose instruments look the best?
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