Price Range for Justin Poirson Bows

December 22, 2005 at 04:40 AM · I currently trying out a Poirson bow. It is silver mounted and is stamped vuillaume. It is an EXCELLENT bow. However the dealer is asking 12,000 dollars for it. I have done some research with auction archives and found that most sell for around 3,000-7,000. However several violin shops ask more than 10,000 for these bows. Do people pay less at auction? Is the bow worth $12,000 dollars? Do you usually pay more for papers and documentation?

Thanks!

Replies (28)

December 22, 2005 at 11:13 PM · Violin bow, right?

While I wouldn't say $12,000 is a bargain price for "a" Poirson bow, I certainly don't think one could say it's too much for the one you're trying (especially without an opportunity to see it). It may be that you wouldn't like another that is more of a "bargain". Bow values by the same maker will vary depending on condition and example.

Poirson bows, in genreal, will fall into a similar range to bows by Claude Thomassin.

December 23, 2005 at 12:10 AM · Hi,

Yes, people pay less at auctions. It's not always the best stuff that makes it there. Generally, there is a considerable markup between auction and retail prices. Like all things, there is a huge range depending on the specimen at hand. However, if it's a great French bow, the $12K is not a bad price at all these days.

Cheers!

December 24, 2005 at 03:40 AM · Ryan,

Auction prices do not reflect market prices.

It is also not very clear in the auction history archives as to the condition of bows, if the bow contained all of its original parts and if the bow was certified. Although this type of reference is good to a degree (mainly for dealers), it is more confusing to the general public.

Similar to going to a respectable dealership (like BMW), and using "Ebay motors" pricing to buy one of their vehicles. Doesn't really work.

When you are buying a certified bow in perfect condition, you can rest assured that you are protected and in the future if you ever want to upgrade, you comeback to the same dealer and they will be happy to be of service :)

.........................

BTW: auction price for a new Thomachot bow in a recent auction was $9,500 before the 15% bidders premium, and 130K for a Sam Zygmuntovitch violin circa 1998 Ex-Stern copy of "Panette".

Although these were world records, they do not reflect market prices.

December 26, 2005 at 02:34 PM · My daugnter was shopping for a bow last summer and found a beautiful Justin Poirson that cost $5600. She bought it from Roger Perrin in Baltimore. He had access to many bows from around the world and his prices seemed reasonable. He showed us a very nice Claude Thomassin that was $9200. I would recommend you get in touch with him. His phone number is 410 539 0043.

December 26, 2005 at 04:32 PM · Michael,

Like Jeffrey said "antique bow values by the same maker will vary depending on condition and example." :)

December 26, 2005 at 07:56 PM · Thomachot seems to be all over the board... some of his stuff with Bernadel is very cheap, and I have seen other bows of his go for much much higher.

December 27, 2005 at 01:22 AM · Pieter

don't you mean Thomassin not Thomachot?

Thomachot and Bernardel....quite a differnce in centuries, Nes Pas?! :)

December 27, 2005 at 02:53 AM · Yeah, Tommassin of course.

I've seen them pretty cheap from Gand/Bernadel, and for much more (over 10k) for his own name.

Nice bows, but not what I need.

December 27, 2005 at 04:36 AM · I think $12,000 is very high. I currently have one for sale on a consignment basis through John Montgomery Inc. in Raleigh NC. for $6000. It is silver mounted and condition is good and stamped Poirson. This particular bow was also shown by the very well respected J&A Beare shop, so it is the real thing. It was originally purchased from Kenneth and Warren & Sons in Chicago.

December 27, 2005 at 05:34 AM · Shall we rename this site to MatchYourPrice.com?

just kidding :)

..........................

BTW, Poirson is one of those makers whose output varied a great deal. There was a short period when he made superb bows, and then there was more of commercial grade (style and finish).

Even though his early career showed promise, it was not as brilliant as those of his contemporaries. From 1890 his production deteriorated from year to year and took on a fairly heavy, almost coarse aspect towards the end (1925).

It is perhaps why there is such disparity in the pricing of his bows.

December 27, 2005 at 12:17 PM · So there is a wide price range for his bows? Does it matter that the bow is not stamped poirson and instead stamped vuillaume? It is documented and certified as a justin poirson.

What other french makers are comparable in quality and in price? Would it be worth it to try the bows of sartory and lamy?

December 27, 2005 at 05:16 PM · Ryan,

Poirson did work for Vuillaume. It was there that he met the best Great makers of the time including Voirin.

In his category of bows I also recommend J.J. Martin, Thomassin, by all means check out Lamy (pere) and Sartory but they will be more $$ especially if you get good examples.

December 27, 2005 at 11:28 PM · There's no point in buying the top end of that kind of maker. I'd anticipate that you'd have difficulties in selling again.

December 28, 2005 at 03:35 AM · Just a side note about Justin Poirson. I understand that he met an unfortunate demise. Apparently he was assassinated. Does anyone know the circumstances of his death? It seems curious that a violin or bow maker would be a target of assasssins.

December 28, 2005 at 03:51 AM · If anyone would know, it would be Raffin.

Sounds like it would make a fine feature film :)

December 28, 2005 at 06:12 PM · Pieter,

There are plenty of people who love the bows of Lamy & Sartory. And there are many who are in search of best examples by those makers.

December 28, 2005 at 09:09 PM · Gennady,

I was talking about Poirson. You don't have to tell me about Sartory and Lamy, right now I'm looking for one!

December 28, 2005 at 11:59 PM · I guess it must be your Canadien English or my American Russian :)

You know what I mean?! Your phrasing made it sound like you were talking about the latter (which was Lamy & Sartory).

December 29, 2005 at 01:35 AM · No. What I said would seem to make perfect sense;

Why buy the top end of a 2nd tier French maker like Bazin, Accoulon, or Poirson (though some examples might be stellar) when the name of that maker might give you trouble reselling at the price at which you bought? At 12k, you have a whole other set of possibilities.

I know I deride Sartory for not sounding as good as older masters, but I might just end up buying one because of practical issues.

December 29, 2005 at 01:51 AM · well if you want to be technical, this is what it looks like:

After I had said "by all means check out Lamy (pere) and Sartory but they will be more $$ especially if you get good examples."

You said (From Pieter Viljoen)

"There's no point in buying the top end of that kind of maker. I'd anticipate that you'd have difficulties in selling again."

No big :) whatever.....

December 29, 2005 at 04:03 AM · so about how much do good examples of lamy and sartory run? Is it possible to get a good example around the 10 grand price range?

December 29, 2005 at 04:15 AM · Some ok Lamy bows can be bought for 10.

The best can run up to 20. Sartory is funny, the prices have gone down recently after a Sartory bonanza over the last few years... now you can get a Sartory for 15000, with prestine examples going higher, along with goldmounted etc...

December 29, 2005 at 08:32 PM · Bruce Berg wrote: "I think $12,000 is very high. I currently have one for sale on a consignment basis through John Montgomery Inc. in Raleigh NC. for $6000. It is silver mounted and condition is good and stamped Poirson. This particular bow was also shown by the very well respected J&A Beare shop, so it is the real thing. It was originally purchased from Kenneth and Warren & Sons in Chicago."

First, I am not selling the bow in question, have no idea who is, and have no interest in it.

As I mentioned above, I don't think $12K is a bargain price, but especially without seeing the bow in question, it would be irresponsible to say it's price was too high... very high, maybe... for the maker... but it may deserve the price... or not.

If the player interested in the bow hasn't obtained an independent second opinion, or hasn't looked at a less expensive bow by the same or a similar maker, maybe they should.

Poirson and Thomassin both vary in weight, wood selection and quality... they also produced bows for some of the same firms from time to time. Both makers can be priced from 6K upwards (silver mounted bows). Remember, at 6K, the bows are priced roughly the same as bows from workshops like Bazin or Morizot (really, the next tier down).

Pieter, In general, I disagree with you about buying at the top end of the maker's range (as long as the piece purchased deserves the price). It's been my experience that, as long as it's not a short term purchase, buying a really fine piece often rewards the owner with a much quicker, easier sale in the end.

To Pieter again; I too have noticed a "leveling" of Sartory ( and other makers) prices in the States during the second half of the year, but this is due, I believe, to the softening of the Euro to the dollar. European prices for these bows have not softened... I still expect really good Sartory to fetch in the neighborhood of 20K (silver, violin).

December 29, 2005 at 06:18 PM · Jeffrey,

I agree with you 100%, and wasn't there an auction sale recently for a Gold Tortoise-Shell Sartory for over 30K recently?

December 29, 2005 at 07:18 PM · Jeff, I was at Remenyi and that's what he was telling me. People are hoarding their bows and don't know how to price... the Canadian/US and US/Euro is whacky at present. You think despite all this, that a Sartory will level out at 20k? That's roughly where it started for a good example that isn't gold or touroiseshelled...

December 29, 2005 at 08:11 PM · Pieter,

You say "Where it started"....that is quite a loaded statement. Where it started is when Sartory made it and how much he charged. Then after his death, the Law of "supply & demand" determined the market prices of each decade since. :)

and like Jeffrey said already : "antique bow values by the same maker will vary depending on condition and example."

December 29, 2005 at 09:40 PM · Pieter wrote: “Jeff, I was at Remenyi and that's what he was telling me. People are hoarding their bows and don't know how to price... the Canadian/US and US/Euro is whacky at present. You think despite all this, that a Sartory will level out at 20k? That's roughly where it started for a good example that isn't gold or touroiseshelled...”

The following is my observations... and my own opinion... but I do seriously study this market. :-)

Yes, the currency issue can throw things around a bit... but in 2003, possibly with the exception of prices in one or two of the big city markets, I’d expect 18 or 20K would buy a very fine Sartory in near mint condition (I sold a very fine one then including it’s original silk/tinsel wrap for about 18.5K). Now one could charge a premium for a bow like that... and the really good ones (not quite a “specimens”) have taken their place in that spot... However, when the Euro was at the upper limit, the European translation of that price was 10% to 20% higher. Sartory bows in general rose very quickly in the decade prior... along with Fagnola, Rocca and Pressenda violins (due in great part to the far east market, I believe).

During this time, the “margin” for Sartory bows that dealers were working with was also rather slim (often almost half) as well, resulting in a reluctance to take “stock” ownership... Instead, dealers were taking on consignments (not purchasing) and charging what was required to make a profit (keep the doors open) over what the owners demanded. The result was that good, great, and (I think) rather lackluster Sartory bows ended up getting grouped in a rather tight price range. Complicated by the Euro issue, this caused a prices to be temporarily pushed to a point where sales slowed slightly.

This isn’t unusual in the market. Many instruments & bows cycle. Appreciation and demand isn't always a constant, especially in the short term. For example; Vuillaume instruments seemed to take forever to break through the 100K retail mark in the 90s... even though the cost to the dealers and auction prices were steadily rising. They’ve continued on pretty well since then, I think.

As I see it, after the changes in currency and a slight leveling of prices over the last several years, this “group” of instruments and bows have returned to a more natural appreciation rates.

As far as players hoarding bows, I believe there was a bit of that going on a year ago... things were getting rather difficult to find at anywhere near reasonable prices. Since currencies evened out a bit, the choices improved (at least for me).

Yes, Gennady, I believe you are correct in noting that a T/G Sartory sold in auction at over 30K recently...

Hope I didn't run on too long....!

December 30, 2005 at 04:26 AM · Jeff, I wondered why at one point, Sartory much more than others, seemed to have such a standardazation in price. I was always told that his output was consistent, but the fact that one heard very little deviation was strange.

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