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Violin/Violin Value (Aprox).

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violin pic 7
violin pic 7  
violin pic 1
violin pic 1  
QUESTION: Hi David,
Aprox. 10 yrs ago I purchased an antique violin at a thrift shop in the Pittsburgh, Pa area.  I had intention of learning to play, so I hand carried violin and bow to a fiddle shop in Galax, Va., where It was repaired, along with having the bow re-strung.  Labels inside read:  Salvadore de Durro, B&J New York, Sole Importers.  Other label reads:  Copy of Nicolaus Amati, Made In Germany.  Size: 3/4.  Bow is very old, and I understand it to be worth a few hundred dollars alone.  Upon completion of restoration, I drove to Va. to pick up this violin.  I asked if shop owner would play a song, as this would probably be the best this fiddle would ever sound.  He played a song, and upon finishing, offered to buy this violin for $1,200. on the spot.  I'm now ready to sell, but would like to know if this offer is accurate.  This shop buys and sells old violins.  What do you think?  I appreciate your feedback.  Mr. Dailey.

ANSWER: Hi Dana

I know the de Durro violins well, as I have sold many over the years. There were about 10 different models, Amati's being below and above the middle. They retail from about $1000-2000. It is impossible to say what yours is worth without playing it and seeing it close up, but I would say that physically it looks like it is one that is above the middle of the range. Because it is a small size (although from your picture it looks like the body measures 14" - a 4/4 size), they generally don't sell for as much as the 4/4 ones. So a wholesale price of $1200, is probably a good offer.  I can't tell anything bout the bow from the picture.

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bow only
bow only  

bow handle
bow handle  
QUESTION: Hi David,

Wanted to tell you how impressed I was with your quick, and knowledgeable response to my inquiry.  Much Appreciated !!!!!

I have attached pics of the bow which was also restored w/the above violin.  Fiddle shop in Va re-did the black & white wrapping, along with re-stringing the bow with real horse hair.  They commented that this was also a real nice bow.  It measures 28 3/4" overall.  
Could you tell me about it, and its value.

Thanks Again,
Mr. Dailey

Answer
Hi again Dana

Unfortunately these photos are no where near close up enough or good enough for a very accurate assessment. It appears that the bow is German made and mounted in Nickel silver. The quality of the ebony in the frog is just average since in has a brown streak. The frog also looks like it has either been trimmed or worn down where the thumb goes, which also effects the value.  With all of that, I would expect the value to be between $100-150. However, without a close up inspection I could be wrong in either direction.

The quality of the new grip is not very good and from what I can tell may not be installed at the correct location. With the frog all the way towards the tip, the leather should be up against the frog, it appears that there would be a gap. The leather also appears to be both too short and too thick to be comfortable.  

I hope this helps

Dave

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David Lashof

Expertise

I can answer questions on violin, viola, cello and bass making, repair and maintenance as well as supply general violin value ranges and information on instrument makers’ assuming the instrument's as labeled. I don't give values for modern makers as many of these modern makers are yet unknown to me. I can only give you feedback based on what information you give me, and no authority on the instrument can know every maker's work that ever lived. I have access to many books on makers and auction prices on over 25,000 makers, as well as having 36 years of experience with selling and appraising violins. Without having the instrument in hand, any estimate over the internet is just a guess as the label inside an instrument is more often wrong than right, so just having that information is not very useful. Pictures can sometimes be helpful but only so much, as the "feel" of the instrument along with small clues in workmanship and varnish cannot be seen in pictures. Any pictures should be high quality close-ups of the top and back. Additional photos of the front and treble side of the neck are also useful. It is always best to have an instrument seen in person at a violin shop that does appraisals. I can also provide advice on bows, rosin, strings and other string instrument accessories. As I am now retired, I have no bias towards selling anything; I only wish to share my knowledge and experience by providing information for those that may be getting confused by misinformation, misdirection or conflicting statements. (While I have seen many thousands of instruments and have performed numerous appraisals; if I have not evaluated an instrument in person, any information I set forth in an opinion is just that, an opinion based solely on what you have provided. Thusly, no financial decision should be based on that opinion, but rather, further investigation should be performed by having the instrument examined in person.)

Experience

I am a retired violin maker and repairman with 35 years experience having worked in Chicago and Maryland at 5 different violin shops and music stores including the first violin repairman at William Harris Lee in Chicago, the head repairman at Weavers Violins in Maryland, and in my own shop of 25 years. I have made 160 instruments and have restored countless professional level and student grade instruments. I am an accomplished violinist having performed with semi-professional as well as amateur groups although I haven't played for years and mostly stay away from questions about playing. I have taught violin making and restoration to about 20 students; three of which have gone on professionally and now have their own shops. I know violins from playing, selling, repairing, making and teaching.

Organizations
Violin Society of America (VSA). American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

Education/Credentials
I graduated from the prestigious 4 year Chicago School of Violin Making in 1981 under Master Violin Maker Tschu Ho Lee. I also studied with violin maker Willis M. Gault in Washington DC from 1973-75, who was the former owner of the oldest known example of an instrument from the modern violin family, an Andreas Amati Viola.

Awards and Honors
2008 Chester Petranek Award for service to the music community. ASTA award for service. Top All Expert in Violin for 2014 and 2015.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with many professional musicians from DC area Symphonies as well as players from all over the US. Here are just a few, Leonard Slatkin - Former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Doris Gazda - Nationally renowned string specialist and composer. Bernard Greenhouse, Tanya Anisimova - Internationally renowned Solo Cellists. Jody Gatwood, Mark Pfannschmidt, Lori Barnet, Doug Dubé, Judy Silverman - National Philharmonic Orchestra. Robert Blatt, David Hardy, Glen Garlick - National Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Stubbs, Brendan Mulvahill, Nate Leath - Professional Fiddle Players. David Basche, Pat Braunlich, John Knudson, Romano Solano, Ed Ferris, Fred Lieder - freelance musicians.

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