You are here:

Violin/Trying to find more information on a violin

Advertisement


Question
Front
Front  

Back
Back  
Hello,

I purchased a violin about 7 years ago.  The label on the inside says "Vittori Rossi Ano 2005."  Underneath that it states "Handmade for Peter Zaret and Sons violins."  I have attempted to contact them for more information but have not received a response and just stumbled across this site so thought I would try here.  Originally I paid 3500.00 for this in 2006 or 2007.  The only appraiser is about an hour and a half away from where I live so I'm just trying to get some initial information first.  Are you able to tell anything about this violin based off the label/pictures?  I am considering trying to resell it and upgrade since I am playing a lot more now, however, I have no idea where to start.

Thank You

Answer
Hi Josh

"Handmade for....." When shops do this it makes it very difficult to evaluate an instrument. Without a maker to attribute the work too, it becomes a "trade instrument" of sorts, meaning that it was farmed out to some cottage industry and may or may not have been made by one maker. These instruments tend to lose a portion of their value right away and take a while to recoup, certainly this instrument is in the level of not having recouped it's original cost. You may get a higher value from Zaret, but unless he is willing to buy it, it isn't a real value. When an independent value is obtained, make sure it is a "Fair Market Value" appraisal unless all you want to do is to insure it. I would certainly check with the store that you purchased it from, as they are the ones that will often give the biggest trade in value, often as much as 100%. Given the limited amount that I can gather from the pictures and the information supplied, I would estimate it's current value more like $2000-2500. Obviously when seen in person that could be adjusted either way.

Peter Zaret is considered by many professionals in the field to be a little unorthodox in some of his ideas of sound. He was never trained as a maker and many makers say that the work that he does is very rough.  I don't take sides, just reporting the concerns. I have no idea if this instrument was subjected to his altering of traditional ideas, specifically of the bass bar, but that could effect the value given by others that evaluate the instrument and thus also its trade in value.

I certainly would recommend an in person evaluation before you decide anything.

Violin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


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.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.