Christophe Landon Violin

December 30, 2011 at 10:00 PM · Anyone know how much Christophe Landon's violin go for at the moment?

Replies (72)

December 31, 2011 at 03:17 AM ·

December 31, 2011 at 03:24 AM · $60k for a modern!?

December 31, 2011 at 05:19 AM ·

December 31, 2011 at 01:47 PM · I've heard that, too. They are both excellent makers, but I think this is nuts! If that's what they want to charge, and that's what some people are willing to pay, well good luck and God bless.

A very knowledgeable former teacher of mine who is very familiar with the work of both those gentlemen as well as with much of my collection, told me that my violins by Ed Maday and Vittorio Villa compare very well, both in tone and workmanship. And there are lots of other makers out there as well of whom one could also say that, and who charge a fraction of that price.

December 31, 2011 at 02:51 PM · it could only mean that the "affordable" makers of today will only be increasing their prices and the "first tier" (price-wise) makers might well push even beyond $60,000. affordability being not be tied down to living expenses but to an system of increasing priviledge. so benchmarks will just continue escalating. it would be elucidating if the kind luthiers here can shed light on prices. it might seem that not too far in the future, $20,000 per violin might be the minimum for a starting solo western luthier. i think it used to be $8-10,000 a few years back...now more like 12-15,000...right? whether they win accolade or prizes is another determining feature i guess.

December 31, 2011 at 03:09 PM · But if you consider that some crappy old Italian violin from the 18th/19th C might cost well over $150,000 - a great sounding and wonderfully made modern (contemporary I should say) violin is a real bargain - at $20,000 - $60,000!!!

Just winding you all up as usual, but am I?

December 31, 2011 at 03:46 PM · If some contemporary instruments compare very favorably with hideously expensive antiques, what SHOULD they cost?

December 31, 2011 at 04:45 PM · and I thought this only happens in the fashion industry...

December 31, 2011 at 05:03 PM · David

I don't want to be rude or anything. But I also can say : "There are modern that costs $20k and compare very favourably with hideously expensive $60k modern."

I'm sorry, contemporary will never be comparable to antique. Sound and workmanship may be comparable but not the value it holds. Just like even with $20k/$60k modern, sound and workmanship may be comparable but not the value it holds because $60k maybe made by a more popular/known maker or soloist performed on it... etc. Some contemporary may sound and look like the million dollars antique, but after all nobody will pay for million dollars for a contemporary violin. And a lot of makers, in my eyes and I may be wrong, are making copies. (I know you don't make copies though) I'm sorry again, why should I buy an expensive copy? How much does it cost for a good copy of Mona Lisa by an artist still alive? Same price of the Mona Lisa? 1/10 of it? 1/100?

December 31, 2011 at 05:43 PM · Landon also makes bows. Has anyone here seen or tried one of them?

December 31, 2011 at 06:28 PM · Shen-Han, I didn't take it as rude. You're basically asking the same questions I am about new instruments: How should they be valued? By how well they work as tools for musicians? Supply and demand? What stories can be connected with the with them? What enough people are willing to pay?

December 31, 2011 at 06:33 PM · David - I have to agree with Shen-Han. The operative word in your first response was "antiques". We're comparing apples and oranges as far as commercial value. It's the same with art and furniture. People have long ascribed extra value to age and rarity.

But it's not unlike what teachers and soloists charge. People try to get what they can in the competing market place. Those with a bigger reputation can command more than many equally good who are less known.

It also depends on the context and market. Ask the folks at Tarisio Auctions, and they'll tell you that even $20K is outrageous, and they'll never give that as a reserve for most contemporary makers. They'll also tell you that the Sam Z. that went for what? well over $100K? did so because it had belonged to Isaac Stern, was a copy of one of his del Gesus, and two wealthy bidders just had to have it. I've learned the hard way and the easy way that auctions are a buyer's market for contemporary makers, not a seller's market.

Anyone considering paying a whole lot of money for a contemporary instrument should consider if they can get their money back should it turn out that it wasn't a life-long match. Ask the maker if he will guarantee taking it back on consignment. Because if you try to sell it on your own at the original high price, you may be in for a rude awakening.

December 31, 2011 at 08:23 PM · I suppose that's another thing to factor in with a contemporary maker; resale value. It might not matter so much if the initial price is higher, as long as it can be recovered. Reputation helps there, and also whether dealers like the maker's work, so are willing to resell them or take them on trade for a reasonable amount.

I can think of some other things which might affect resale value: If a maker has paid a dealer a commission to sell a violin, it puts him in a poor position to buy it back without taking a financial beating. The dealer's cut has been earned and paid, and probably can't be recovered. And the dealer is unlikely to buy it back for what was paid, because he can probably buy another one from the maker for substantially less.

The same thing applies when teacher commissions have been paid. The maker or dealer can't afford to buy it back for what the buyer paid, because a good chunk of that money has already passed into other hands.

December 31, 2011 at 08:57 PM · The only value that matters for any item is what someone will pay for it. If a violin sells for 60K then its worth 60K to that buyer - the only reason to know the rationalle for that price is to ask the buyer.

I think its irrational to try to understand contemporary values by antiques. I used to collect modern first edition books. Now there is an absurd market. Ignoring the signed vs not signed aspect, the value of the book was set primarily by its rarity and the fame of the author. Thus, if their second book was moderately successful, while the third became a blockbuster winning prizes and maybe being the basis of a movie - the first book s/he wrote immediately becauem valuable (first books usually come out in an initial small printing) even though it may have been literature litter, if you excuse the phrase.

Maybe something similar is going on here - speculators, looking for a long term investment, are buying one-of-a-kind violins because eventually that maker is going to become eminently collectible?

Quick - snap up a few Burgesses...

December 31, 2011 at 09:46 PM · First editions, and art, and presumably violins, are also subject to a certain level of availablility.

So if you want to up the value of your closet full of Burgesses, it would be a good move to have him killed.

Sorry, David. You will be missed.

December 31, 2011 at 09:50 PM · elise

Mr. Burgess already won a lot of gold metal and first prize. You should collect his violins before he went to competition if it's really for investment purpose :p

A luthier told me that in violin making school some students with more experiences will sometimes make violins and sell them outside of school... A few sample may catch your eyes/ears and it costs less than $5k... But I never know where to find those violins lol

December 31, 2011 at 10:05 PM · "So if you want to up the value of your closet full of Burgesses, it would be a good move to have him killed.

Sorry, David. You will be missed."

_____________________

Fair enough. It's not like a lot of us makers haven't already talked about the advantages of faking our own death, or professing to indulge in high-risk activities. LOL

Talk about a minefield.... now you have to figure out whether a violin maker is really dead or not.

The way to be certain, of course, is to kill him yourself. ;-)

December 31, 2011 at 10:07 PM ·

December 31, 2011 at 10:25 PM · I hope to have a new Sawzall video out in a month or two.

Need to wait for the right time in the making process to shoot the video. But eventually, my goal is to demonstrate that everything meaningful in life can be accomplished with a Sawzall and an electrical outlet

. :-)

January 1, 2012 at 12:22 AM · The wisdom of a Solomon, and 2800 strokes per minute.

January 1, 2012 at 03:11 AM ·

January 1, 2012 at 06:13 AM · I just listened to 50 violins, Landon violins on the video for Ole Bull Oslo 2010, thanks to Violinist.com. In my opinion most were concert violins, all made by contemmporary makers, and would compare with any of the old ones? Landon deserves what he can get for his violins. He has helped violinmakers and players at all levels with the Ole Bull and other projects.

January 1, 2012 at 06:14 AM · sp.- contemporary

January 1, 2012 at 06:35 AM · Violins included one by C Landon and two by his sons.

January 1, 2012 at 01:43 PM · Happy New Year, everybody!

A while back someone posted a query about the maker, Luiz Bellini. I said some things that are hopefully still relevant to this discussion:

It's interesting how, apart from intrinsic quality of sound and workmanship, a maker, not unlike a performer, may go in and out of fashion. 'You're hot and then you're not'. As I recall from an interview with Bellini, Ricci really helped put him on the map, by taking a liking to one of his violins while B. was still working at another shop. Anyway, next thing you know, David Nadien gets one, then others do, and Bellini becomes a hot item -and I'm not saying deservedly or undeservedly. Then the next big thing seemed to be Sergio Peresson. Now-a-days, not so much. Today it's Sam Z. and a few others. I personally tried only one Bellini at an auction showing. It was just ok, and the antiquing, while attractive, wouldn't convince any conoisseur even at a distance. But to be fair, that was only one. As I said in another thread, I recently tried a Strad that wasn't so good either.

Again, I'm not knocking anybody's work. On the contrary, any of these guys could come out with an excellent violin. I haven't made a secret of my own favoring of Ed Maday in the USA, and Vitorrio Villa in Cremona, Italy. It's just interesting to track the rise and leveling-off of some makers' popularity. There seems to be a bit of a sense of a club of people 'in the know'. Like "we know what's good', and then there is a jumping on the band wagon effect. Nothing terrible about that. But the most important thing is for a player to decide that a particular violin is a really good match. Then beautiful things can happen.

January 1, 2012 at 03:48 PM · Between Peresson, Mayday, Villa and Bellini , I'd probably choose a Bellini.

January 1, 2012 at 03:57 PM · corr- The 50 violins include one by C Landon and two by his sons.

January 1, 2012 at 04:56 PM ·

January 1, 2012 at 05:06 PM · As the OP`s question has already been answered,and we are now into comparing prices of modern makers versus quality : anyone knows what a Patrick Robin (from France) goes for at the moment? Price in euros is fine.

January 1, 2012 at 05:08 PM · Brian, a Peresson would cost you close to 60,000 retail as well today if I`m not mistaken.

January 1, 2012 at 06:39 PM · Raphael, and I guess it's for Mr. Burgess as well

So if it's like a fashion with some maker out-of-fasion... Do they lower their price or what? It seems to me, for all the contemporary violin, the price keeps going up or stay there...

January 2, 2012 at 02:48 PM · David Burgess

Posted on January 1, 2012 at 03:48 PM

Between Peresson, Mayday, Villa and Bellini , I'd probably choose a Bellini.

David - what's the matter with you? You should always choose a Burgess! ;-)

But seriously - choose them for what? If for monetary investment and resale value, I would probably agree with you. Yet, for ratio of bang for the buck as an inital investment, Maday and Villa will give you that.

As for workmanship, I give you exhibit A - my most recent Villa acquisition pictured in my blog about my pilgrimage to Cremona.

As to tone - every violin is different. What's a Villa or Maday sound? I have 3 from each of them, and all 6 sound quite different. Indeed what is a Strad sound? I've tried, I think about 5 Strads, 2 del Gesus, and many other classics - again, all different. Despite my personally being pro Maday and pro Villa, liking them personally as well as their work, if someone asked me "do you think a Maday or Villa would be right for me?" I'd say "I don't know. Try mine and get a sense of them". What I can say is that my overall favorite violin is one of those 6, which beat out a good Guadagnini - and not only in my own opinion. In recent years, the only violin I tried that for me was better was a wonderful Amati that I wrote about in my blog about auctions. Even with the scroll not being original, it went for about $600,000. Alas, they would not consider my offer of Monpoly money!

January 2, 2012 at 05:30 PM · "As for workmanship, I give you exhibit A - my most recent Villa acquisition pictured in my blog about my pilgrimage to Cremona."

________________________________

Quite a bit of time looking at photos of Villa and Mayday was factored into my mention of what what I would choose.

"David - what's the matter with you? You should always choose a Burgess! ;-) "

I understand that you're just kidding, but if I can be serious, that's not what I'm up to here. My goal is to provide information which readers can trust, without needing to worry about any kind of financial connection or motivation.

I don't have, and have never had any kind of financial or transactional connection with Bellini. I own a few modern fiddles by other makers (not Bellini), but try to follow a rule of never mentioning these makers by name.

January 2, 2012 at 08:24 PM · Reknown is what pumps a price, whether it is an instrument or a player.

There are many superior players who cannot charge the same fees as more well-known ones simply because the market does not know them (for whatever reason).

Same with modern makers. I went to an exhibition of modern Cremonese violins not so long ago. Amongst the most expensive was a Bergonzi.

Some of the better playing instruments (imnsho) were by the younger and less well-known (and consequently less expensive) makers.

Most of the better-looking fiddles were by the older and more established (and dearer) makers.

I couldn't predict sound from price or looks, but I could sometimes predict price from looks.

Reknown can come from association with famous people, or an event/competition. Or connection with famous ancestors, or who knows what.

January 2, 2012 at 09:05 PM · Graham Clark

That is very interesting as I've just bought a Riccardo Bergonzi, and it looks pretty good to my eye.

It also has a big character-full sound. and you can bash hell out of it.

I would also say that it was a very reasonable price. My viola, which I hate (although it was a good instrument) went towards it. I should explain that I hate the viola - when I have to play it (never again) - but I like it when others have that dubious honour!!

P.S.

Was that exhibition by any chance in London? I wanted to go but life got in the bloody way!

It's on again this Spring, if that was the exhibition, and I will go!

January 2, 2012 at 09:29 PM · David - yes, I was kidding. As far as false choices go, I was once asked "who do you think is the greatest Opera composer, Wagner or Verdi?" I said "Mozart"!

I certainly respect your focus as a maker and a VSA judge, etc., and all the valuable insights you have provided in various threads. My main focus is as a professional player. But there is one thing I can say re my latest Villa pictured in my Cremona blog. One of the world's top collectors knows the Villa brothers. This story was told to me in semi-confidence, so I won't mention his name, but you and a few others, will probably guess when I say that he has owned some top ornamented Strads. He's controversial, but he certainly knows a thing or two about fiddles. He visited their shop not long before I came there, and saw my fiddle. The violin was not quite finished with the varnishing. Nevertheless he immediatley offered to buy it. Vittorio said "sorry, it's already spoken for". So, for what that's worth...

The one Bellini I saw recently was pretty, but the modeling and antiquing were much more obvious, and it sounded just OK. But that was only one. The next one I see and try may bowl me over - and I'm truly open to that.

January 3, 2012 at 12:16 AM · Yes, Peter, that exhibition was in London. All the violins were, in my view, very reasonably priced.

The R. Bergonzi was also my favourite violin in the exhibition EXCEPT for the first B on the A string, which was so out of character (nastily nasal) with the rest of the fiddle's sound that I didn't think it was just down to set up.

It was a great violin, plenty of top end, some good scratch, as well as decent bass, and very handsome, though that B put me off. And, yes, you could bash it your heart's content!

gc

January 3, 2012 at 12:39 AM · Graham

It is very hard to find fiddles that do not have one note that is a bit off. On my Berganzi it is C on the A string (2nd finger) and this same note is echoed high on the G string. However, different strings may cure this, and I've learnt to live with it as it is not bad and I can compensate with a little caressing and maybe a bit more something, perhaps vibrato even. It's also got a lot better as the instrument and the strings have played in.

A friend of mine rejected a well know maker's instrument (an Italian maker who had lived in the S of France), for the same reason, although it was the B natural and C. I don't know how bad it was, because when I went in to have a play on the instrument it had been taken out on trial and it sold soon after. So he may have missed a great fiddle.

I will certainly try and get to the exhibition this year and it will be interesting to compare.

January 3, 2012 at 01:10 AM · "This story was told to me in semi-confidence, so I won't mention his name, but you and a few others, will probably guess when I say that he has owned some top ornamented Strads. He's controversial, but he certainly knows a thing or two about fiddles. He visited their shop not long before I came there, and saw my fiddle. The violin was not quite finished with the varnishing. Nevertheless he immediatley offered to buy it. Vittorio said "sorry, it's already spoken for". So, for what that's worth..."

_____________

Uhm, yes, if it's the person I'm thinking of, he might be considered controversial. Wasn't he sentenced to a little time in US Federal prison, connected with his dealing in violins?

January 3, 2012 at 03:11 AM · I think it was tax evasion, but there may have been a connection. But my point is that someone who has had Strads like he has had, so wanted to add mine to his collection. But anyway, I have no, er, ax to grind! ;-)

January 4, 2012 at 06:42 AM · Re:- Riccardo Bergonzi, I was surprised last year to find just how much his prices (along with some other Cremona makers) had increased since my previous visit to Italy, in 2003.

My last purchase from there (2011) was from a maker who doesn't employ assistants, maintain retail premises or boast a flashy website; but it equals the best new fiddles I ever tried. It cost me less than €10k, but I had to pay extra for a holiday trip to get it.

Regarding that "dodgy" note on the "A" string, most fiddles have one right there, (C usually, but Guarneri models sometimes have B) but it's less discernable on some instruments than others. Time to worry is if the wolf is way down to A flat.

January 4, 2012 at 01:28 PM · Anybody know how much Peter Greiner is asking these days?

January 4, 2012 at 04:22 PM · I think Greiner is asking about 30/35K for his violins.

January 4, 2012 at 05:17 PM · an interesting NPR story that might contribute to some of the conversation here...

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2012/01/02/144482863/double-blind-violin-test-can-you-pick-the-strad

January 4, 2012 at 11:45 PM · Peter, David, that B wasn't "a bit off" it was outrageously off.

That one note was from a Strohviol!

January 4, 2012 at 11:46 PM · David - I think the Cremonese makers (or at least some of them) are asking high prices - but I think I did OK and could re-sell (not that I want to) for at least what I paid.

My C has got a lot better and I don't have a problem now. I've learnt to play it, and the fiddle is getting opened up, and the strings have settled. So I'm not buying that Strad after all ...

January 5, 2012 at 02:41 AM · " I think Greiner is asking about 30/35K for his violins. "

Luis, are you talking dollars or euros?

January 5, 2012 at 07:47 AM · Graham, that was certainly a fiddle to avoid ! Of course, it might have been a simple matter of the sound-post adjustment.

Peter, I think you paid a lot less than the "new" price and got an instrument that's nearly 20 years old - probably settled down.

As to that London (UK) exhibition, Sean Bishop emailed me as follows :-

"As regards makers that sold or I liked:

P.Hornung M.Tadioli B.Neumann S.Levaggi E.Russ R.Collini"

No mention of Bergonzi. Anyone can have a bad day !

January 5, 2012 at 09:26 AM · David, thanks, very interesting!

You or someone was right in saying that anyone can have a bad day.

Rcently I tried a brand new fiddle from an English maker who trained at Newark and is now well established. The maker was reccommended by a younger friend of mine who also trained ar Newark. My friend by chance went with a violinist to try out this same fiddle and told me later that he thought it very poor too and not representative of his work. (I had mentioned in an email that I that the fiddle was pretty poor, in my opinion).

So I can believe that there may be poor R.Bergonzi's out there - just as there are poor Strads, and poor examples of just about every maker.

January 5, 2012 at 09:36 AM · Dollars Hendrick, but the price is in Euros.

January 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Maybe Sean didn't like that "B" either. It wasn't a poor violin, it was a very good instrument, just that one note bothered me. Maybe someone else would not find it a pain, or be prepared to adjust.

Sean wasn't there the day I visited, and I haven't seen him since, so haven't had a chance to talk to him about the exhibition. I think my memory for the names has gone now, apart from the more familiar. That Collini was nice.

I was, overall, very impressed by the instruments on show, though there were some surprises. Many instruments were decorated a bit, one had gold edging on the scroll, for example.

January 5, 2012 at 04:31 PM · "I was, overall, very impressed by the instruments on show, though there were some surprises."

That's interesting to know. Taking into consideration that many top makers in Cremona are not members of the consortium the exhibition represented, and that there are other schools of making elsewhere in Italy, it would seem that there's no problem nowadays getting a decent new Italian fiddle for a reasonable price, if that's what grabs you.

In 2003 I was in the Cremona shop where the Consorzio Antonio Stradivari displays instruments for sale. The three I liked best from a dozen or so tried included a Bergonzi. (I bought a Tonarelli). The scene over there seems healthier than it seemed to me 40 years ago.

The happiest hunting-ground for reasonably low prices right now seems to be the UK. For example, last time I looked on the internet, Christopher Rowe (who obtained a very good result at an Italian contest), seemed to be charging peanuts as compared with the Zygs and others in the USA.

January 6, 2012 at 07:08 PM · As a luthier, once you're getting a long waiting list for your instruments, of course it's tempting to raise the prices considerably. There are always holes to tuck money into, like buying first class wood for the next decade or two. Stradivari himself was successful in selling his instruments and apparently became relatively wealthy. Of course this helped him to produce consistently good instruments for such a long time. If he hadn't succeded in selling his instruments he'd probably tried another line of work,or starved and attracted a serious illness and died young.

January 7, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Just out of interest how much does enough decent wood to make a violin cost? Are we talking $500 -£1000 - $2000?? Obviously the wood for a cello would be a lot more.

January 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM · In general we buy "fresh", unseasoned wood, and it may be already expensive, then we have to leave it seasoning for 10 years or more. We can also get old wood (50, 80, 100 years old wood) that can cost a mint. But the main cost is our work, not the wood.

www.manfio.com

January 7, 2012 at 01:49 PM · That's quite understandable. The basic question, which David posed a while back and which can probably not be definitvely answered, is how much SHOULD a maker charge - for their labor, expertise, etc.? But the customer must keep in mind that only the maker can charge for labor; thereafter, if the customer ever wants to sell it, it must stand on its own two - f-holes!

January 7, 2012 at 02:26 PM · Rafael has made a good point there. Brand new instruments often drop in resale value by anything from 25 - 40% in the first few years. The only time this won't happen is when a maker has sold at a certain price and then found a demand for his/her instruments and so the price rises. This is definitely something to take into account with new instruments.

January 7, 2012 at 05:48 PM · I typically spend between 700 and 1100 $ on wood, accessories and strings for my violins, depending on the choice of wood and how many sets of strings I go through when setting up the instrument before putting it out for sale. I charge around 16.000 $ for my violins, so the cost for materials is defininitely a minor part of the price. The thing is, you should ideally have a stock of wood for at least 5 or 10 years ahead, and that makes it a bit more expensive. The dealers' cut is a big part, and going to exhibitions and competitions can swallow a bit of money too. I could make decent violins for half the price, but the difference in work between making decent violins and excellent violins is huge, when it comes to hours of work required. There are a lot of decent Chinese instruments for half the price, so I don't want to compete in that range, and a lot of decent old German or French violins around 16.000 $, so mine have to be a lot better.

People like Landon, Zygmuntowicz, Hargrave or Dilworth have spent countless hours of unpaid work to get to where they are now, and they've reached an undisputable recognition. You pay to be a part of that, just as you pay to get a piece of violin history when you buy an Old Italian violin.

After all, you can pay exactly the same amount for a car, and it will be worth nothing in a few years.

January 7, 2012 at 06:17 PM · Plus, cars somehow, never look good with any antiquing!

January 7, 2012 at 06:37 PM · What about the resale value of new cars, computers, printers, TV sets etc? How much we have spent in such products in the last 20 years and what is their "resale value" today?

www.manfio.com

January 7, 2012 at 09:07 PM · The world of wines comes to mind. Once a vineyard start receiving gold medals and good reviews, of course they start to spend more money on keeping their position on top, working even more tending the vines meticously, buying the best barriques to mature the wines in, and so on. Renovating the château... Then the prices increase, 100 $ a bottle, 200 $, and people who want to be in the club buy like mad. A new bottle of Chateâu Lafite sells at about 2.000 $ now, if you can get your hands on one, but I recommend you buy a bottle of their 1789 vintage for 200.000 $ for your next barbecue.

January 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Ulf - I know nothing about wine, and will gladly take your word for it. In my experience with restaurants in New York, when one gets a good review that they proudly display, often the prices go up, and the quality down.

Luis - I'm sure you know that there is no comparing electronic devices - which wear down and are often designed to be quickly outdated (planned obsolecense), with a violin. A well-made, properly cared for violin is expected to improve, last several lifetimes and go up in value. Customers need to be aware, though, that in the case of a new violin, there can be a dip after the initial purchase from the maker.

The advantage of an already existing contemporary violin (as opposed to a planned one on commission) is that whether 1 or 21 years old, it has stood some test of time, has hopefully improved some, and there isn't the issue for some customers "what if I commission it, and I don't like it?" Also, there is instant gratification of having the violin right there, and not having to wait 2 or more years. On the other hand, particularly with a contemporary violin with a very high asking price, one can argue "why should I pay you $60K for your Sam Z. violin, unless I'm head-over-heels in love with it, when I can commission my own from him that will hopefully suit me more perfectly, and have the satisfaction of choosing the model, the wood, etc.?"

January 7, 2012 at 10:56 PM · Yes Raphael, but I sell my instruments to professional musicians who use them as a tool, and a violin keeps a lot of its value when considered as a tool. Most of us use computers as a professional tool and they don't hold their value.

January 8, 2012 at 03:17 AM · It's still very much chalk and cheese.

January 8, 2012 at 04:47 AM · Manfio

Not every violin hold its value or goes up in resell price. There're in fact only a handful of luthiers' work that goes up in price, while the rest just goes up with inflation if the price increases at all. And in fact not every tools depreciate with the price. A second hand Leica R35-70 F2.8 ASPH in a good shape is more expensive than when it was new. A resale of Ferrari Enzo is more expensive than its MSRP when it first came out. The only reason that we think electronic/car/camera/computer depreciate as a "professional tool" is just because it's mass-production. If today there's a company to mass-produce violin that match the quality in sound and workmanship of that of Stradivarius or even better, then violin price will be fluctuated, even with yours or Burgess's price. But violin-making today is an art, thus a mass-produce violin will never match the quality to a good maker's violin. While the violin a good violin maker can make is very limited, it is sort of like a limited edition with a time to line up and wait. In that case ANYTHING will go up in price, even PS3/XBox360. Remember the time when they just got it released? It costs about $500, and I line up to pre-order it for sell on E-bay for $1300!

January 8, 2012 at 07:25 AM · Years ago a colleague who had worked in Hills Bond Street Shop (London, UK, holy of holies) declared that on the death of the maker the price of some violins go up whereas others go down. The buyer of new work is a speculator, if the future resale value is all that concerns him/her.

As Luis suggested, a new violin should be acquired as a tool. There's no reason at all to buy an instrument we don't like to play, expecially nowadays when the standard of making is high.

To "try before you buy" ought to be more satisfactory than to commission. Yet 3 violins I bought (edit:- commissioned) from the same maker have all turned out well. Depends on the maker.

And if a violin is "nearly new" one can wonder why the previous owner wanted to sell. Dissatisfaction ? Has the fiddle been thinned out of desperation ?

Even currency fails to have a have a stable value. Speculators make megabucks from the fluctuations in exchange-rates. Buying a violin as a "get rich quick" exercise rarely succeeds. Spending megabucks on a fiddle can have more to do with money laundering than Art with a capital "A" IMHO.

January 8, 2012 at 11:08 AM · The resale problem may occur with old instruments too. If you pay 8 million dollars for a Stradivari today you may not have the same 8 million dollars back in the case you want to sell it soon.

In many cases a lot of time (years...) is needed to sell a very expensive violin.

January 9, 2012 at 01:12 AM · All of the above few points since my last post have validity, as well...

However, when it comes to a Strad or del Gesu, etc., if it's a good instrument in reasonable condition, whose authenticity is unquestioned, and you paid a basic market value (and didn't get into a crazy bidding war) this is one of the best investments anyone can make - even if they don't play or even particularly like violins. This why corporations have sometimes acquired them. Even in today's lousy worldwide economy, high-end instruments continue to do well.

The market is a complex thing, and based on a little bit that I know and my experience, I want to share some knowledge with my colleagues who might be considering paying an awful lot for a contemporary fiddle.

January 9, 2012 at 05:55 AM · Expectations seem to vary based on the commodity. It's easier to be patient selling a 250-year-old instrument. After all, you're only consuming 1% of the thing's lifespan.

And for some reason, the loss you get driving a new fiddle off the lot seems more pronounced than the bid/ask spread on the older ones. Perhaps because people use real earned money to buy the newer (cheaper) ones, while the millions spent on the older ones are harder to imagine.

Of course, it is also true that for a new instrument, you're paying for labor and marketing costs, otherwise the thing would never have been built and sold. So good or bad, there's going to be a minimum price depending on where it was made. By contrast, people don't especially care if Germany is more expensive to live in than Tuscany when comparing Hopfs to Strads.

January 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Stephen, German is less expensive than Italy today, in the list of the 50 most expensive cities in the World (2011) there is no German city but Milan is there (22th) and Rome too Rome (34th).

Unfortunatly my city (Sao Paulo) is the 10th most expensive city in the world now, more expensive than any other city related to violin making (London is the 18th, Milan 25th, Paris 27th, New York 32th, Rome 34th,Viena 36).

Here the list of the 50 more expensive cities in the world:

http://www.onlineforex.net/worlds-50-most-expensive-cities-2011-according-to-mercer/

www.manfio.com

January 20, 2012 at 01:34 PM · Simple - move to Toronto. We don't even make the list! YAY!!!

OTOH violins are not cheap here. I suspect they also follow an international currency exchange rate...

January 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM · Lucky you Elise that your city is not in the list!

Yes, violin prices are rather globalized today.

www.manfio.com

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