June 14, 2019, 6:03 PM · I have a was told by a very reputable dealer long time ago..Now I want to sell the instrument and can not find any dealers to give me an honest opinion about the violiWhy dealers being so secretive?

Replies (37)

June 14, 2019, 6:27 PM · Pay for a written appraisal.
June 14, 2019, 7:35 PM · probably because its a fake????
June 14, 2019, 8:44 PM · Take it to Warren, Reuning, ect, and as Lydia says, pay for the certificate/appraisal document.

Who was the "reputable dealer"? What makes you think that the dealers are being secretive?

These are questions that you may not want to answer in an open forum on the internet. Just because you consider the dealer to have been reputable doesn't mean that within the trade they have the same reputation, and as for the honest opinion, perhaps saying nothing is the honest opinion.

June 14, 2019, 8:54 PM · Dealer providing honest opinion is an oxymoron. The whole business of dealership is based on information customers are unaware of. Ethics is at best tweaked, at worst non-existant.
June 15, 2019, 9:13 AM · The reputable dealer was Mr.Francais in NY.
As for paying for an appraiser ..a London dealer told me...25% of value
June 15, 2019, 9:29 AM · That would be a disreputable dealer that is a crook.
June 15, 2019, 9:51 AM · Nelly, perhaps your violin IS 17th century as Francais opined, but there is uncertainty about exactly who made it?

What exactly did Francais tell you?

June 15, 2019, 9:52 AM · 25% is a consignment fee. A certificate should be less than 10% and appraisal significantly less, but you need a certificate. Did Mr Francais not provide you with a certificate or opinion on the instrument? Unfortunately, his opinions have not held up as well as one might have hoped for.
Edited: June 15, 2019, 11:11 AM · I have a friend who owns (or thinks he owns) an Amati violin. Well, he was told 40 years ago that it's an Amati. He has no paperwork. Then a few years ago he took it around to dealers in Chicago and New York and nobody would give him the time of day. My guess is that he led off with "I was told it's an Amati". The better approach, in my opinion, would have been to say, "I bought this violin 40 years ago for $50 at a pawn shop in Las Vegas -- what do you think?" My guess is that dealers don't want to stick their necks out evaluating antique instruments that aren't pretty clear-cut because the chances that they're going to end up being wrong are likely relatively high.

Your profile doesn't say where you live so it's hard to recommend other dealers to you. Google search suggested Toronto but I'd rather not guess, and besides I don't know any dealers in Toronto. If you do live in Toronto you should ask Elise Stanley for suggestions.

June 15, 2019, 10:04 AM · Nelly - just out of curiosity, does the instrument have a label? Not that they mean much, but still, it is some information.
June 15, 2019, 10:44 AM · I go with Rocky. I wouldn't call it a healthy business model. I mean, what is the value of a violin? Usually whatever someone uninformed will pay for it.
June 15, 2019, 12:05 PM · One of the auction houses, like Tarisio, would also give you a free opinion.
June 15, 2019, 4:34 PM · Yes..Mr.Francais said it is a Strad and also told me to be careful that they do not exchange part on it.I was professionly playing the violin at that time didn't even think that one day I want to sell it I did not ask for paper.No label in the violin.A young concert violinist would be very happy with it I was
June 15, 2019, 5:40 PM · What city do you live in?
June 15, 2019, 6:24 PM · It doesn't matter where I live...I can take the violin anywhere.I would sell it to a budding concert violinist for a very reasonable price.It has to be played...since I'm not playing anymore because of arthritis it's just sitting at home.
June 15, 2019, 6:50 PM · If you're in Toronto, I would take it to Bein and Fushi in Chicago, or Reed-Yeboah (or other major dealer) in NYC.
Edited: June 18, 2019, 7:55 PM · Well, if you can take it anywhere:

Chris Reuning, NY and Boston
Jim Warren, Chicago
Jason Price, Tarisio, sometimes he is in London, sometimes NYC
And the end-all opinion would be to send photographs to Charles Beare, who is just outside of London. From good photographs they an tell you if it would be something that they would like to have a better look at.

Any of these will work. You need a certificate, not an appraisal. Without it, you will not get any significant amount of money for the violin, regardless of what Mr. Francais said.

June 18, 2019, 11:24 AM · If Charles Beare says it's a Strad, you're in great shape....his certificate will be worth the money, most likely ;).
June 18, 2019, 2:02 PM · Nelly - I love your paintings!

Is that your Strad hanging on the wall?

Edited: June 18, 2019, 7:18 PM · These days to get good expertise you need to know that the game is very much about specialists and you shouldn't go to the same person for everything. There are specialists for English violins, French violins German violins Italian violins, old Italian violins, modern Italian violins, violins from different cities, etc.

So not knowing what you think you have, no one here can tell you where you should go. Also some of the suggestions that have been made aren't good ones currently. To pick the most obvious, John Becker no longer works for Bein and Fushi, and their renowned expert, Robert Bein, has been dead for over 10 years.

June 18, 2019, 7:27 PM · The OP claims Francais said it was a Strad, if that narrows it down for you????
June 18, 2019, 7:31 PM · Really? Missed that . . .So we can be pretty sure it is not a Strad, since he was not much of a respected expert? Probably she needs Charles Beare to convince her, then, not someone lesser.
June 18, 2019, 8:10 PM · Michael,

Between you and Stefan, I bet that you could sort it out for her.

June 19, 2019, 2:31 AM · I may personally recommend Tutti Violini-the owner is a true gentlemen who completely knows his stuff (and has a photographic memory).

That, and an Omobono Strad hanging in the instrument cabinet.

Please PM me, I can introduce you if you wish. :)

June 19, 2019, 4:07 AM · I will agree with others who have said that the usefulness of certification, when it comes to selling a valuable instrument, depends very much on who it comes from. Some opinions are held in higher esteem than others.
June 19, 2019, 9:07 AM · Thanks, Duane, but our strength comes from 3...there is also Julian. I sense, however, that this isn't a simple "sorting out".
June 19, 2019, 6:14 PM · Yes Steve paintings and my violin.

Thx for the compliment.

June 19, 2019, 6:19 PM · It is really hard to get an honest opinion and certificate.

I probably try to sell it around $30k for a budding concert violinist wthout papers and they can run around chasing dealers for a certificate if they want one.

Anyone me.

June 19, 2019, 8:04 PM · See, there's more to it than meets the eye. Her time is so valuable that a week of work to make $4 million or so is just too much work. So she is already certain it's not a Strad, or she's the kind of person who hands someone $4 mil or so very casually. Take your pick. Job over.
Edited: June 19, 2019, 8:54 PM · Michael you are a cynic! Now, how can I convince Nelly I'm a budding concert violinist?
Edited: June 19, 2019, 8:58 PM · Someone just paid $5.64 million at auction for Babe Ruth's jersey. Maybe she's that kind of person?
June 20, 2019, 12:55 AM · Lol what kind of person looks at their authentic Strad and says "yeah, $30k is a good price for this".

If it way me, I'd be rushing out to get it appraised and insured, and probably loaned to the best violinist I could find.

But then again, I'm not the kind of guy that thinks Strad money is chump change.

June 21, 2019, 10:38 AM · Older Italian of unknown provenance might sell for $15k, last I checked (shopping). OP might be doing pretty well to get $30k for the not-Strad in that case.
June 21, 2019, 10:49 AM · Back in the days of yore I knew a somewhat reptilian young music student who made a point of grooming old lady violinists in our orchestra, on speculation that they might be playing something good. To my dismay it worked and one of them gave it to him!
June 21, 2019, 10:49 AM · But we can not speculate since we do not know what it is.
Edited: June 21, 2019, 12:28 PM · Why should we assume the OPs violin is Italian?? And why should we assume Francais said it was a Strad, this whole thing has scam written all over it.
June 21, 2019, 12:51 PM · Yes, it's looking a bit sketchy

"I have a five million dollar fiddle that I am willing to sell for 30K."

Buyer beware!

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