Violin/Violin Value


Hi Mr. Lashof,
I have read some of your answer form other people's question.  So I think I should ask you my question since you know Mr. Tschu Ho Lee and you did study at Chicago school of violin making.  
I have two try out violin and both of them are from Chicago school of violin Making. I would like to know the violin value range form this school.
And I have another violin which is made by Eduard schwen, walsrode 2001. The violin value is around $12,000. Is this violin be over value???

Hope to hear form you soon.

Thank you very much for your time and help.


Hi Glenda

I can't really give you any information on the Schwen violin as I am not familiar with his work or what he charges. No instruments of his have sold at auction, but as he has won some awards, which it seems he has, $12,000 is not out of line as some modern makers get $20,000 or more. The one that I see for sale, no price listed, looks very well made, although more antiqued than I personally care for.

As far as the CSVM instruments go, I assume you are talking about the ones that are made by students and are sold anonymously, not from a specifically named maker. It has been a long time since I have purchased any of these, but I would expect them to retail around $2500-5000, maybe a little more. I know that is a big range, but these instruments can vary a great deal as some are only the second attempt while others are the last instruments made while in school. I will say that some of these makers instruments that are made now, sell for over $20,000.

As stated on my bio, I don't really like to give values on modern instruments that I haven't seen or in general since so many are unknown by me as 100's of them join the marketplace every year. I also know the modern American makers much more since the European makers instruments don't circulate  here in the US as much.  


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David Lashof


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.)


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.

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

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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