Looking to buy a Zygmuntowicz violin

February 25, 2019, 7:15 PM · I am looking to buy his violin if anyone has one for sale. Please send me your contact information. thank you

Replies (69)

Edited: February 25, 2019, 7:47 PM · Hey, you're in luck!


February 26, 2019, 2:24 AM · I am aware of the auction and plan to bid, but just in case i don't win, would prefer to buy directly.
Edited: March 11, 2019, 3:53 PM · Why a Zyg in particular? There are so many excellent makers with more affordable and great sounding instruments.
February 26, 2019, 8:39 AM · An investment or a playing tool?
February 26, 2019, 9:12 AM · Buying directly lands you on a long waiting list.

Why don 't you save yourself a substantial sum of money and look for another good maker?

February 26, 2019, 9:33 AM · These Polish names will be the end of me.
February 26, 2019, 9:47 AM · Excuse me? Polish names??
February 26, 2019, 10:11 AM · Zygmuntowicz is a Polish name.

So Allen: Are you collecting or are you looking for a player's tool? I think one of the reasons that players seek out a Zyg is the ability to commission one to their tastes.

February 26, 2019, 10:17 AM · https://vimeo.com/112594029
February 26, 2019, 10:23 AM · Lydia, hasn't he retired some years ago?
February 26, 2019, 10:23 AM · "These Polish names will be the end of me."

Fortunately, there are names like mine that you can deal with. Only need 3 different letters.

Or you could just use "Sam Z." for that other guy.

February 26, 2019, 10:36 AM · Don - Yeah, you're right. Zygmuntowicz isn't the most common name.
Does anyone know how it's pronounced?
Edited: February 26, 2019, 11:23 AM · It's pronounced like Zig-mun-TOH-vitz

But from looking at this post, seems it's just someone trying to flip an instrument for cash. Otherwise, shouldn't they be asking "where do I go try one to see if I like it?", or maybe "what makers make similar instruments?"

February 26, 2019, 12:46 PM · I posted the link to show this is someone who plays the violin. Why he specifically needs a Ziggy, beats me...
February 26, 2019, 12:49 PM · Nuuska, no, he's still actively making.

By the way:

February 26, 2019, 1:01 PM · The Zyg at Tarisio is pretty darn good...but is it already more than he charges for commission? The Poggi is not bad either...but you might be able to find one for less in a shop...;)
Edited: February 26, 2019, 2:34 PM · Want to collect Zyg. A friend of mine has one commissioned and it was amazing. I tried to call the maker several times and left multiple messages, never receive a call back, and his violins don't grow from tree and it's already bid up to $90,000 on Tarisio now.
February 26, 2019, 2:29 PM · If I had that kind of loot I'd be looking at his violins too. But in the end I'd probably spend the same amount on three violins from other makers that are probably just as good.
February 26, 2019, 2:53 PM · I think the OP should look at some Dan Noon violins which would cost considerably less and not so long of a waiting list. Dan's violin came in first place for tone a year or two ago.
February 26, 2019, 2:57 PM · first place in the amateur makers conference, I believe
February 26, 2019, 3:17 PM · Really Lyndon, wasn't it the VSA, Violin Society of... Amateurs? No wait, it was a viola. So nothing to be taken serious anyways.
... just adding to the anti viola bashing thread ;-)
Oh no, it really was a violin, and awarded by the Violin Makers Association of... well, maybe mostly international amateurs around that competition in Arizona...

Don, congrats and chapeau, I didn't know! As my heart beats mostly for the viola, I'd love to try that one! If only California wasn't that far from Central Europe...

February 26, 2019, 3:26 PM · To slightly amend James T's post, it's (arguably) more like


though it's kind of in-between mun and moon, and the toh is a shorter vowel sound than the full letter "O".

If you think Polish is hard to pronounce, you should try English.

February 26, 2019, 3:51 PM · "his violins don't grow from tree"

well... technically...

February 26, 2019, 4:39 PM · Yes. Lydia, I am aware it is a Polish name. I guess I was a bit too subtle in my remarks. I meant to imply that this forum is not here to give someone who is not fluent in Polish an opportunity to castigate the nationality because the names are not SImple Simon... is that any clearer?
February 26, 2019, 4:47 PM · Erin, I don't think Polish people are too offended by the impenetrability of their impenetrable names. It's a tough language for anyone not coming from another Slavic language.

February 27, 2019, 3:29 PM · Erin, I didn't read Nina's statement as even vaguely a castigation. She followed up with a post asking how to pronounce it.
February 28, 2019, 9:30 PM · When asked about this topic, I tell students that some of the very best instruments are being made right now by the leading luthiers in Europe and USA, Mr. Z. is certainly one of them. So a real pro. will invest serious money in the tools of their profession. $100K is certainly a lot of money, too much for me, like a luxury car, but less than a house , and only 1/10 the price of a Strad or Guarnerius.
March 1, 2019, 12:21 AM · High bid on that Tarisio Zyg was $110k. With buyer's premium, $132k. On a $55k-80k estimate.

March 1, 2019, 10:34 AM · Oh, I wasn't trying to insult anyone with Polish names, I was just like, "Well, I'm screwed." It was more about my unsureness rather than the name itself.
Sorry if you didn't understand that clearly.
March 1, 2019, 10:38 AM · Also, my middle name is pretty unreadable for those not fluent in Tagalog, so I guess me looking at Zygmuntowicz is like someone else looking at Magpantay. And I'm not particularly nationalistic, either, so I don't know where you got that from.
And I'm 14, so it definitely just be that I'm stupid.
Edited: March 11, 2019, 5:39 PM · Nina, I guess most of us got your intention. Everything's fine.

Edit: corrected the spelling my phone messed up...

Edited: March 1, 2019, 1:06 PM · In New York, there’s Stefan Valcuha, 1 of the very best makers in the world now. He was Rene Morel’s right hand man and now is the resident maker at Tarisio. He’s asking $25,000 for his violins. He also returns messages! Just some food for thought. Zygmuntowicz is obviously a very fine maker and well schooled, but there are other less pricey options that might be just as good if not better (even in NYC).
March 1, 2019, 1:19 PM · Hi Nina, Thank you for your explanation. I am an overly nerdy Polka (female Polak) and I apologize for going overboard on your linguistic puzzlement!
March 1, 2019, 1:47 PM · I'm of Polish extraction and I was not offended. I have trouble pronouncing my mother's maiden name, let alone spelling it. My own name (Marrow) was shortened from Kazmarowski (sp? maybe?) by my grandfather.
Edited: March 2, 2019, 6:38 PM · Mr. Lin, were you fortunate enough to get the one at Tarisio? :)
March 2, 2019, 9:39 PM · Funny how everyone suggests alternative makers when he made it clear that, as I originally suspected, he is looking for an investment, not a playing partner!

Now if anyone knows who the future Zyg is... caching!

March 3, 2019, 4:20 PM · I guess to become the new Zyg, it would need not only 100% quality, but a few 100% marketing tricks as well. I can't see any other reason why one particular maker would be hyped that extremely, regarding how many luthiers there are nowadays producing exceptional tonal quality and workmanship between 20-30k...
Haven't held one of his instruments in my own hands, but I'd really be curious about what a top player might find by comparing a Zyg to a Spliden, Burgess, Götting, Scolari, Klimke or whatever, in addition to a few great makers I happen to know in person like Schleske, Schütz, or Fauler (to add one female, at least).
Edited: March 3, 2019, 6:38 PM · I might be missing something, but I don't really see how Zygmuntowicz instruments can equate with a more proven method of investment, such as a treasury t-note or real estate in a prime location. If you like how his violins sound and have the means, I can understand why you'd purchase one of his instruments. That should be the predominant reason why you purchase an instrument and bow in the first place!

Years back, probably the most sought after modern maker in the US was Sergio Peresson. At the end of his life, he had a waiting list and stopped taking orders for instruments because he was in such high demand. A bunch of people in the Philadelphia Orchestra used his instruments, Jacqueline du Pre recorded the Elgar Concerto on one of his cellos, and Eugene Fodor used a Peresson for the majority of his concerts. I'm not sure what he sold his instruments for, but I do know you can now get one of his violins for under $40,000.

Sure some of SZ's instruments sell for close to or a little above 100K due to the Isaac Stern spike, but an instrument, or any asset, at the end of the day, is only worth what the buyer is willing to offer. I can say that the desk that my laptop sits on is worth $350,000, but will I find someone to buy it? The instrument market is very small and illiquid, unlike the stock market or real estate.

Edited: March 3, 2019, 6:19 PM · Where are you finding a Peresson, assuming decent condition, for under $40k? I think the last one I saw was at least $80k, and maybe in the six-figure range, I don't quite recall. $40k-ish fifteen years ago, sure, but now?
March 3, 2019, 6:32 PM · One of his violins sold for $24,000 last February, and a viola of his sold for $33,000 in November at Tarisio. They're lovely sounding instruments!
March 3, 2019, 6:40 PM · I absolutely agree that violins are a very poor investment tool if you're just looking to sit on them. Even if they were liquid and didn't take 5+ years to sell, their appreciation simply can't match the growth potential of even the most conservative mutual funds or ETFs (which will average at least 6-7% annual growth).

Of course, they're a good investment tool for a soloist because they help add value every time you perform (if you sell more seats because you play on a strad instead of a modern instrument, for example).

March 3, 2019, 7:04 PM · Violins are only a good investment tool given a few (very) major caveats.

Ultimately, the best to "invest" in a violin is to put down the cash for either an old Italian or a high-grade modern, then loan it to some aspiring soloist who you hope eventually becomes the real deal. Or alternatively, by from a maker who you believe will do the same.

Speaking from financial perspective, violins are anti-productive as assets. They take a lot of money to keep in good condition, including insurance. Plus they have to be played to keep up sound and value. They are by-and-large non-fungible except for a rare few makers. Investing in violins is more similar to investing in art than investing in music (though along these same lines, it's possible instruments have a utilitarian value in enabling money laundering).

But hey, for ME, one particular random guy on the internet, I hope the good moderns stay low in value for quite some time. Need to get me an instrument for the long haul, and finding moderns to try is proving to be a difficult task.

March 4, 2019, 5:06 AM · If you're able to look beyond Zygmuntowicz, there are plenty modern, living makers whom you could 'try'. Many of them have waiting lists, though.

I find the idea of people who invest in violins offering their instruments to 'aspiring soloists' rather funny. What if these soloists don't feel like being investors' work horses?

March 4, 2019, 7:52 AM · Then those soloists can bring their own money to the table for instruments.

That's the bargain. Got money? You can buy what you want. Don't have money? Hope for a loaner.

March 4, 2019, 3:16 PM · My guess is that very few soloists are that attitudinal.
March 11, 2019, 10:33 AM · Allen - if you are still watching, I noticed you did not provide your contact information in your post.

I think it would be incredibly hard to have to rely upon a loaner for one's profession. But, scraping together enough money to purchase a high quality instrument is impossible for most (I imagine).

March 11, 2019, 11:36 AM · "...their appreciation simply can't match the growth potential of even the most conservative mutual funds or ETFs (which will average at least 6-7% annual growth)...."

I don't argue the basic premise--that violins are generally not a good financial investment--but I have to wonder whether Erik is old enough to have lived through either the last Great Recession or the Tech crash of 2000. Or the big recession of the early 80s.

Do NOT assume that returns for the last 10 years will continue. We used to assume that a savings account "should" generate 5-6%. Eventually, sooner rather than later, we will have a recession and for many reading this it may be their first. Be careful what assumptions you make concerning your investments...

March 11, 2019, 1:46 PM · Scott, in the last 10 years, many ETFs have averaged insane numbers, like 20%+ average gain each year.

6%-7% is the "safe" number one can expect, on average, over many years, if choosing a high quality large cap ETF that simply follows the market and doesn't try to beat it.

With that said, stocks sometimes go through long recessions where selling them would mean a huge loss, so obviously the 6-7% wouldn't apply if you're forced into selling at a bad time.

Edited: March 11, 2019, 1:50 PM · What is missing here in the "violin investment" discussion is: diversification.

If you take a gamble on one maker, price could go up could go down. Stocks/Bonds/Cash/ETF/Real Estate allows you to properly diversify based on your risk tolerance.

Edited: March 11, 2019, 5:57 PM · The average annual return of a well diversified portfolio of US assets in the 80-year period from 1925 to 2005 (which includes the Great Depression and the Internet bubble, but not the subprime bubble) is about 12% per year.

“Investing” in a violin one doesn’t actually play makes no financial sense.

March 11, 2019, 7:52 PM · "Almost alone among investments, important violins have proved immune to economic downturns. Auction prices for Stradivariuses have increased from about two hundred thousand dollars in 1980 to about three million dollars today."


March 11, 2019, 9:14 PM · I would say that the trick in violin value is to buy low, and sell high. And that IS the trick. If you buy a violin at retail and it isn't a Guarneri, then you had better be a player and get your value that way, because you aren't going to make money on this investment otherwise. On the other hand, if you educate yourself and pay attention, you might buy low enough to make it qualify as an investment. My violin and bow were appraised at 3x what I paid, so my kid ought to be able to at least break even when he unloads them to buy a vintage Les Paul. But I was helped by generous experts, and I pay attention.
March 11, 2019, 9:51 PM · True, George Huhn, but a compound interest calculator shows that a conservative annual 7% return in safe ETFs would also make 200,000 in 1980 into 3,000,000 today.

And that's much more liquidatable at any point in that period, plus it doesn't have the risk of getting stolen or the costly insurance premium that goes along with owning a physical object that's so valuable.

Plus, that requires a much more substantial lump sum minimum investment, where a person can decide to buy however much $$$ value of ETFs that they can afford. You can't exactly buy "3 shares of a strad."

I suppose a strad collection isn't a bad way for a super-millionaire to diversify their portfolio, but for anyone with less riches, ETFs are way better than violins.

March 11, 2019, 10:00 PM · When your stock market crashes, I'll still have all my violins!!
Edited: March 11, 2019, 10:18 PM · People who invested $200,000 into Microsoft at the beginning would have more than $20 millions from their stock purchases today.

BTW, if a major market such as the one in the US crashes, the art/instrument market will for sure crash
as well because institutions/foundations/rich individuals will have to liquidate their assets to pay bills.

Edited: March 11, 2019, 10:47 PM · But you'll be broke and I will still have my violins..... Your assets are not tangible, mine are!!
Edited: March 11, 2019, 11:15 PM · Lyndon, your violins are only worth as much as the price people are willing to pay! If the market crashes like the Great Depression, buying violins from you wil be the last thing on people’s mind as they wait in the bread line.

As recently as 10 years ago, millions walked away from their houses which are as tangible as assets can get.

Of course if you were a player, you can still play, which certainly counts a lot, but not in a financial sense.

March 11, 2019, 11:10 PM · no my violins keep their value, the economy recovers, my violins can be sold again and you're still broke.........
March 11, 2019, 11:15 PM · Ok, this not a place for that type of discussion.

It should be obvious to everyone that if the economy recovers so does the financial market as it did from the subprime crisis ten years ago.

Edited: March 11, 2019, 11:49 PM · lots of people lost everything in the crash 10 years ago, my friend's father lost 1 million, nothing left
March 12, 2019, 4:15 AM · Well, we all have our particular investment strategies and I respect that. I'm just stating my opinion.

But Lyndon, you investing in violins makes sense because they're part of your business. Just as a soloist might invest in a good violin that they plan on performing with.

But we're talking about someone who's planning on buying one violin and just sitting on it to accrue value. Is it really your impression that this makes more sense than ETFs? Your friend's father must not have had diversified assets if he lost everything. Either that or he panicked and sold at the bottom of the market, which is the worst thing you can do. ETFs are naturally diversified, since they have a little bit of everything. And the fund managers are always trying to optimize the blend. Deaspite this, their expense ratio is very low, so it's just a very safe option for long term investment. Nothing wrong with investing in violins if you plan on "flipping" them relatively quickly as in your case, just as a clothing store should probably invest in buying merchandise, but the "sit-and-forget" strategy just doesn't seem like a good idea with violins if growing wealth is the goal.

March 12, 2019, 5:13 AM · I am sure there are hedge funds out there that invests in fine art, antiques, fine wines and what not. Of course, if your investment motive is to make more money, those funds are worth considering (along side with funds invest in stock market). However, if your "investment" consist of having a thing that you can use, let it be "invest" in a house or a violin, those funds make very little sense.

Personally, I don't quite understand the psychology behind a wealthy person buying a Stad and loan it away. You get better return in $ if you buy an apartment block and rent them out, or invest in the stock market. If their motive is to support musician, then why not making grants to help them income-wise?

Edited: March 12, 2019, 6:22 AM · Eric Williams-

The article was published in 2008, and covered a span of 28 years (1980 - 2008). During that period, a $200k investment in a Strad grew to $3 million. A $200k investment at 7% interest compounded annually would have only gone to $1.3 million.

The vast wealth inequality in the world has been partially the cause of the high inflation in the prices of fine art. Inflation in the prices of high-end fine art objects has vastly outpaced consumer inflation. There are a very few people with massive amounts of money to spend competing with each other to buy the world's fine art.

Edited: March 12, 2019, 8:58 AM · There have been a lot of funds starting up to buy single instruments or portfolios. Much of the data used to make it look interesting is a little sketchy, and stretches only from the 60s on. The rest of the data— makes that have fallen from fashion, and the long stretch between the 20s and the early 70s, when prices often went nowhere— present a less compelling story.

The best reason to own an instrument or piece of art is that you use it to earn a living, or just like having it around. Essentially, those are your dividends, and in the latter case they are immune to inflation and untaxed.

March 12, 2019, 8:12 AM · Shall I start a new topic on 'What sets the purchase price of a violin'? Since I'm currently looking (and have some ideas that need to be challenged) it would be particularly timely...
March 12, 2019, 10:20 AM · "The average annual return of a well diversified portfolio of US assets in the 80-year period from 1925 to 2005 (which includes the Great Depression and the Internet bubble, but not the subprime bubble) is about 12% per year."

The problem is that when people talk up the market, they always seem to chose specific beginning and end points. In other words, they cherry-pick a time period that confirms their point ("confirmation bias," anyone?). You can do the same thing for real estate or violin valuations: just a pick some period of time that makes your point. This works in hindsight, but one can't know at any given time where you are in the cycle when you invest, and when you might have to get out. I'm not totally ant-market--just wary of what is possible. We rarely see it coming (even the experts).

"What sets the purchase price of a violin'?"

It's not celestial navigation. People sell violins for whatever they think they can get for them. It's a two-way street: the price may vary depending on how well educated the buyer is. How desperate is the seller?
Does the dealer have too many violins in stock? Many buyers think their item, whatever it is, "should" be worth more than it is. Or they hate the idea that they're not making anything on it, so they'll desperately keep selling it for the same price.

I know a musician that has been trying to sell an old Italian viola, and can't stand the thought of lowering the price--she thinks it "should" be worth X amount. And so it has just sat, year after year, in a succession of shops.

Edited: March 12, 2019, 6:00 PM · Scott wrote:
"People sell violins for whatever they think they can get for them."

Sometimes that's true, and other times it is not. With a wait-list which may exceed my life expectancy, I could probably get away with charging much more than I do. That doesn't happen to be my schtick.

Not everyone in my business is a total money-grubbing whore. ;-)

March 12, 2019, 2:21 PM · "Not everyone in my business is a total money-grubbing whore."

You say that like it's a bad thing...

March 12, 2019, 2:22 PM · I imagine Scott is thinking more of sellers putting violins on consignment, and/or dealers, rather than makers.

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