Review / Corilon violins

May 27, 2021, 10:56 AM · I bought a violin from Corilon violins. I am not happy with the transaction.

There is clearly the maker's label inside the violin, but they deliberately concealed the maker's name in their listing and description.

Later I searched on the Internet about the maker and the violins he made, it turned out that Corilon violins bought the very violin at an auction 2 month ago. After they got it, they changed a set of new strings and put it on their shop and eBay for sell at almost 4 times the cost. I agree that they can mark up the price at will, and of course they have to make money in doing business.

However, as we all know, the maker of a violin is one of the most important factors in determining the value of the violin. The original label of the maker is clearly there, but this most important information was deliberately concealed. This behavior is a profiteer.

I would not buy this violin at the price I paid if I knew the name of the maker in advance. The violin itself is fine, but I feels that Corilon's approach is a bit deceptive.

Replies (19)

May 27, 2021, 11:03 AM · You bought it sight unseen? Without playing it?
May 27, 2021, 11:24 AM · When buying a violin without playing/seeing in person, chances are not in buyer's side to be happy with the purchase.

Does label makes any difference? A workshop MJZ 909 "labeled" violin - $2500 (Aliexpress), $3100 (Fiddlershop), $4800 (Brobst) available online but I would always want to try the instrument first no matter how much a price difference.
May 27, 2021, 11:31 AM · There are photos and audio clips on the listing for reference.
The violin was in Germany and I am in the U.S.
May 27, 2021, 11:36 AM · They have a 30-day return policy. Why don't you use it?
May 27, 2021, 1:03 PM · The 30 days had just passed when I found out the truth.
I used google to search and did not get the information. Later when I used DuckDuckGo to search the truth revealed. I wish I used DuckDuckGo earlier.
May 27, 2021, 1:57 PM · Sure, the 30 days had passed, but this is an extreme instance. Have you at least given them the chance to do right by you before posting this?
May 27, 2021, 2:15 PM · How expensive is this thing? If it's $300, then their skill at selection and the new strings go a long way to covering the markup. If it's a Grancino, that is a little different, but still covered by caveat emptor.
May 27, 2021, 2:58 PM · Even they sell for 10 times their cost, I have no complain at all, I think that is the way violin are traded. All of my complain is about the information regarding the maker, they know exactly who is the maker but they did not tell the potential buyers that piece of information. If you search the selling price records for this maker on line, you know the highest price ever sold is 5 apples, now they want to sell for 10 apples, and do not tell you who is the maker, because they know you would search and find how much this make's violin has been sold.
May 27, 2021, 3:28 PM · Well, they got someone to buy it when he didn't know anything about the maker-- and knew that he didn't know.
Edited: May 27, 2021, 8:51 PM · Paul,

I'm not sure if you realize that just because the violin has a label, it doesn't mean that the label is right.

Violins are mislabeled all the time, and Corilon may not have agreed that the maker listed on the label was the actual maker.

Why don't you ask Corilon who they think made it?

Edited: May 27, 2021, 10:00 PM · What Andrew said. I think that you should be having this discussion with Corilon, and not here. Nothing productive will come of airing your grievance here.

Even though you said "I would not buy this violin at the price I paid if I knew the name of the maker in advance," you did have 30 days to perform due diligence on this instrument after you bought it and after you did know what the label said.

I highly recommend that you discuss this with Corilon.

May 27, 2021, 10:51 PM · Ditto to Andrew and George’s comments regarding attribution. A label doesn’t prove anything. Plus if you’re looking up past auction prices of a given maker that doesn’t mean much as they give no indication of condition or playability. Furthermore, Corilon likely did more work than just swap strings. I reckon they polished it up, repaired a crack or two, cut a new bridge, adjusted the SP, etc. Have you searched for violins by this maker at other retail dealers? That would be a more accurate indication of retail value assuming the label is authentic. I am curious as to why they would not have referenced the label in their description. But I am even more curious as to what caused you to purchase this particular violin. I assume whatever it was has not changed and you did trial it for 30 days. So maybe it’s a perfectly good fiddle that suits your needs just fine. Sounds like you just think you were overcharged. Maybe you can take it to a local luthier/dealer and get it appraised?
May 28, 2021, 12:31 AM · That you don't think that the maker is worth the money means nothing in this cast, only that you had the violin for 30 days and thought that it was worth the price.
May 28, 2021, 1:50 AM · Do you have the website link of the violin and what price you paid? Did you contact them before you purchased it?
Edited: May 28, 2021, 6:31 PM · the title of this thread is's not a review, and it's not well stated and is very confusing even what his complaint is. This is like the other thread about aliexpress- people who don't know how the world works, trying to be smart, then going character assassination in a public forum to gain some emotional relief when they're not happy. If you don't know how to buy a violin, maybe start a thread on that and learn!
May 28, 2021, 12:33 PM · Did you bring this up with Corilon, and if so, what did they say?

It's a bit much to accuse Corilon of deliberately concealing the maker's name. I assume that this was simply sold as an anonymous violin, without attribution to a particular maker (i.e. just "Mirecourt violin early 19th century" or something like that).

The label doesn't indicate much of anything. The label might not be original or genuine or otherwise meaningful. Corilon might not have agreed with the attribution implied by the label.

Auction prices are generally 50% of retail for a violin in that condition. An instrument being auctioned might need substantial additional work in order to make it saleable at all. Auction prices are meaningful for high-end instruments, especially when there is a long-term price history. Auction prices for makers whose work is rarely auctioned might not be.

I'm not sure why someone based in the US, where there are abundant good violin shops, would buy online from a European dealer in any event.

You can have any reputable US violin shop generate an insurance appraisal for the instrument for about $100, which would give you a third-party estimate of its worth. This might help you feel better about what you paid. Or, alternatively, it might verify that you paid too much -- but keep in mind that prices can be different in the US than in Europe, and even between the East and West Coasts for really valuable violins.

But, to paraphrase Steven, are we talking about, say, selling a $1k-at-auction violin for $4k retail, or are we talking about selling a $10k-at-auction violin at $40k retail? The two things are a very different matter.

May 28, 2021, 3:56 PM · The old rule of thumb "auction prices are generally 50% of retail for a violin in that condition" is no longer true because many more musicians are competing with dealers at auctions than were in the past. Plus, the opportunities for dealers to locally conspire to keep prices down are fewer because the auctions are all online.

There are so many factors now regarding realized auction pricing versus retail pricing that it is impossible to ascertain any ratio.

Edited: May 28, 2021, 4:38 PM · A few years ago, I was seriously considering buying a violin from Corilon. In this instance, they named the maker, and being curious, I googled the maker's name.

I only found one other reference to the maker - which happened to be an auction listing from a German site that seemed to be somewhat similar to ebay. Both Corilon and the auction site had detailed pictures of their instruments and when I looked at them closely, it was undoubtedly the case that they were showing the same instrument. The wear marks in the varnish had a distinct pattern (there was also a small chip) which was clear in both sets of pictures.

I cannot remember exactly, but I think the auction listing suggested that they sold the instrument for approximately one-twentieth of the price advertised on Corilon.

My initial reaction was one of outrage. How could Corilon source instruments so cheaply and then mark them up so much??

Once that thought was out of my head, I began to think about Corilon's business model, and I quickly dropped the negative thoughts. Corilon sell a lot of low-end-ish instruments (i.e. under $5000) - they have to buy them from somewhere and I suspect a lot of them are grandpa's ubiquitous violin in the attic. Most will have limited or no provenance, and may require extensive repairs before their playability can be assessed.

My assumption is that Corilon buy a lot of instruments speculatively and that many prove to be unsaleable. So the true cost to Corilon for each saleable violin needs to account for the unsaleable ones, and any work done to them as they are assessed.

This is actually a roundabout description of the difference between buying at auction and from a dealer. At auction, it's very much buyer beware. Buying from a dealer de-risks the transaction, but the price of this is reflected in the difference between auction prices and dealer prices.

I exchanged emails with Corilon and found them extremely helpful and engaging - on that occasion, I chose not to try one of their instruments, but I certainly am not put off considering them in the future.

Corilon offer a 30 day returns policy so it is most definitely possible to try before you buy - I doubt they'd be in business if they didn't offer this.

May 28, 2021, 6:11 PM · Tom, I totally agree with everything you stated with the additional factor that the dealer may have to wait years before they actually sell an instrument and realize any profit.

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