New Gordge case

March 19, 2014 at 03:32 PM · I have been offered by a Swiss dealer, a brand new, never used, M. A. Gordge violin case. This is the deluxe model, in moss green, with 4 bow holders and two internal pockets and has the hygrometer and instrument suspension. It has managed to sit in his small shop unnoticed for about ten years.

Mick died in 2007 so no more cases by him are available, although Farnham Case works are starting to produce something similar. The price is about $1700 USD.

Edit. It's 1700 Swiss Francs = 2K USD.

I have always coveted this case. I don't need it, but I would use it.

Fair price? Buy or not?

Cheers Carlo

Replies (21)

March 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM · Some Gordge's have been auctioned at Tarisio, you might check those prices. Getting a NOS one would be cool. Among current case makers, you might also check Des Timmes, at http://www.tatimms.com/index.htm , who was an apprentice to Gordge and carries on the same tradition. Excellent quality, as well.

March 19, 2014 at 10:45 PM · What will you put in this case?

If your cat is going to take a nap in it, I would say that 2k is a bit too much.

If your antique Italian will take a nap in it, well, you know what to do.

March 19, 2014 at 11:42 PM · The prices years ago were near the $1000 mark, so if you have to have one, it doesn't seem outrageous.

It may be the last case you ever buy...

March 20, 2014 at 01:31 AM · The case you use shouldn't cost more than around 10% of the value of the instrument/bow(s) you're putting in it.

Just my two cents

March 20, 2014 at 03:45 AM · I do want the case and it is for an Italian fiddle, but I don't want to pay over the odds. I seem to remember these for sale, some years ago, in the UK for about £450 (about $700USD). I have also done the conversion from Swiss Francs incorrectly. It is 1700 Swiss francs which is just shy of 2k USD.

Does anybody know what the Gordge cases were making at auction? I can find no info on the Tarisio site.

Cheers Carlo

March 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Hi Carlo,

Gorge's are now rare, especially new, and are known to be solid, and long lasting. They are among the most durable cases out there and last seemingly forever. This can beat having to buy multiple other cases which may not be as durable, which can add up over the years. Also, if you are buying new, not used it could be worth the extra expense.

Just an example, I bought my Rouillard Aluminium Violin Case, or rather had it custom made in the early 1990's but am still using it today in 2014! And it has been around the world in all kinds of travel conditions many, many times! So, a good case can be a good investment!

Just my own two cents on this grey, snow covered yet rainy Canadian morning...

Cheers!

March 20, 2014 at 12:53 PM · Dear Carlo,

My advice is - buy it, but don't use it! When Mr. Gordge passed away in 2007, I bought one of his last cases (new) for about $700 to put in my collection, so that was the last retail price, at least on the U.S. market.

Tarisio recently (New York December 2012 if I'm not mistaken) sold a DeLuxe model, used but in excellent condition, for $1,920 including auction fees.

A new one could therefore easily fetch more than that, but the fact is that these cases are becoming collectors items, so to own a new, pristine example and then wear it out would be a crime!

March 20, 2014 at 05:32 PM · @Dimitri. Oh bother! That's a curve ball. Buy it and don't use it!

I currently use a custom made Musafia, Master Series Exclusive shaped case. This was brilliant as a gigging musician in London and it saved my violin's life (the story is on your website) but now, with the more sedate pace of life in NZ, I'm looking for more bow holders and a practical sheet music holder.

I am a bit of a case collector myself. I have a beautiful Hill apostle case that I bought at Christies in the 90's for very little. Can't use that one. I was given the Leather GL case as a gift, not really practical, can't use that one. I have an elegant old English double case, heavy and not necessary for daily use, can't use that one... There is a bit of a theme going on. Buy another and don't use it?

I recently made the decision to use my more expensive Italian violin and French bows even when teaching. They are good investments and are undoubtably safer not used, but then there is little point in owning them. Does this not apply to cases too?

The alternative I suppose is to get a cheap and cheerful Bobelock plywood case and replace it when it gets tatty, say every five years. I'm sure it would do an adequate job of protection, carry my bows and my music, but what value does one put on style?

Cheers Carlo

March 20, 2014 at 06:52 PM · Hello Carlo , in 2005 I bought a Gordge violin case from William Moennig and Sons in Philadelphia for $ 750 new.

It has the two pockets and can hold four bows. I have used it ever since and it has traveled all over the U.S. And is still in great shape. I love it and would not get rid of it for anything.

I suggest if you want it, Buy It.

Best wishes on your decision.

Carter

March 20, 2014 at 09:09 PM · Carlo, if you have one of the Apostle cases then you get the idea, and hats off to you also for such fortune. They are masterpieces.

My suggestion still stands: buy the Gordge and don't use it, keep it as an investment. One day someone will offer you a very handsome price for that case if it's unused - believe me!

But if you NEED an oblong case for actual use and like the Gordge concept, I suggest you wait until Tarisio offers another used one in excellent condition, then you can have your cake and eat it too.

"but what value does one put on style? "

Style makes the difference between living, and mere existence (Oscar Wilde)

Cheers!

March 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM · There have been at least a couple Gordge cases on eBay as well recently. I think a used one in the US sold for around $600, and a reconditioned one in UK sold for around £395. Search "completed" listings. If you follow Dimitri's suggestion, you might watch eBay also for one to use. Items like this are very problematic- ultimately symbolized by the Messiah- made to be used and some of the best for their intended purpose, but a rare example of an unused product that can't be replaced after it's been used. A good problem to have, though.

March 21, 2014 at 03:00 PM · Keep in mind that a used Gordge can be serviced when necessary (case cover, handles) by T.A. Timms in the UK, so you're not buying an "orhpan".

March 21, 2014 at 03:26 PM ·

March 21, 2014 at 06:31 PM · Thank you all for your input. I am convinced the price is fair and have bought it. I will pick it up when I am touring in Europe in July. New Zealand, although lovely, is a long way from anywhere!

Now I have the use, do not use, question to consider...

Cheers Carlo

March 22, 2014 at 04:37 AM · Congrats! Enjoy it. Life has enough problems, enjoy something fun along the way.

March 22, 2014 at 02:16 PM · Definitely, don't make it a closet idol! A case is to be used - the truism is that they don't accumulate in value like the instrument can so if you don't use it its just an old case...

March 22, 2014 at 10:28 PM · Elise, I have proof to the contrary... :-)

March 23, 2014 at 07:31 AM · Dimitri - I should have guessed... :D

Perhaps you could enlighten us on the 'investment' potential of violin cases? How much can one expect a case - it can be a particular type - accumulate in value over time?

March 23, 2014 at 02:45 PM · Wellllllll....... I have written an article on the subject, published in the Italian publication Archi Magazine ("archi" = bows). Here's the short answer to your question.

Violin cases can be collectibles, just like violins, paintings, Persian rugs, Lalique crystal, etc. etc.. They appeal to a restricted cadre of connoisseurs of the subject who purchase more than they "need" for the sheer pleasure of doing so.

The investment value arises when someone is willing to pay you more for a case than you originally did. Here are two examples:

I paid $700 for a new Gordge in 2007, and now the used ones are going for close to $2,000; I could probably get $2,500 for my pristine, brand new one.

That's an appreciation in excess of 2 1/2 times in seven years, or a yearly return of almost exactly 20%. Every year, for seven years.

Another example is Jascha Heifetz's double W.E. Hill case. It was sold at auction in the late '80s for $2,000, and resold in 2012 for $24,000, realizing an increase in value over 10% yearly for 23 years!

March 31, 2014 at 11:43 PM · I second Dimitri's response. In fact, I had bought a new Musafia Master Series case in 2003, and sold it used for a small profit a few years later. Cases that are made by hand from a master case maker are sure to appreciate in value since there is a limited production with along with high quality standards.

I currently have a Master Series Dart Aureum that was purchased in 2006 for under $800. If I'm not mistaken, that same case purchased new currently is over $1200. The only argument that in regards to the Heifetz case was that the main part of the sale price was due in part to Heifetz, in addition to the nice case, as well as what that case housed in its coffers!

Not that I would buy a case for investment only, the purpose for me is to have a sturdy and visually appealing case that reflects my tastes and personality, something that Dimitri and his company delivers.

I think the case makers of today that may stand the tests of time are Dimitri Musafia, Desmond Timms, Negri, and Maurizio Riboni. There may be others, but I am unfamiliar with their work.

Congratulations on finding a nice Gordge!

August 12, 2015 at 11:59 PM · Just spotted this old thread...

I bought a new Gordge case with a red interior in 1995 and have used it ever since. The velvet plush interior still looks terrific. The spinners and whatnot are all in good working order. The original canvas cover has never ripped, and the original (plastic) zippers have never failed, despite its heavy use. In other words, an absolutely terrific case and worth every cent I paid for it--$450 in 1995. :-) One of the better purchases I have made.

The only part that has gotten shaky are the hinges; the steel axis pins within the hinges can work out of the hinge and have to be pushed back in. I'm not sure who could replace the hinges that I would trust.

Compare this to other cases I have owned that have suffered failures and wound up being thrown away within five years--out of charity I won 't mention any brand names. A particular weak spot has been cheesy quality canvas in the covers that rips, along with plastic parts of any sort that bear weight or strain.

One more thing. I once dropped the case hard on a concrete sidewalk and it landed upside down. The three bows and expensive violin within suffered no damage. And it's not even a suspension case.

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