Jeffrey Holmes

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About Jeffrey Holmes

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  • Birthday July 23

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    Ann Arbor
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  1. Antique?

    "any work of art, piece of furniture, decorativeobject, or the like, created or produced in aformer period, or, according to U.S. customs laws,100 years before date of purchase."
  2. Violin type Nicolo Gusetto

    Slightly off the subject of this particular violin... but depreciation of a well repaired sound post crack in the top is usually about 20%. This % may be slightly higher if it's a nasty compound crack, or other situations that warrant further depreciation. If there are other pre-existing restorations (the instrument isn't pristine) and the instrument is older, it may be a lesser % that is applied. In my experience, market appeal for a new instrument with such a restoration is different than market appeal for an older instrument with such a restoration, however. None of the above means that all instruments that get a post crack in the top are worthy of a sound post restoration, or receive one that is well done.
  3. Relationship between auction price and retail price

    In my opinion, the relationship of the auction houses to the dealers has changed quite a bit over the last 30 or so years. Probably not all bad... and not all good either... and the very effective use of technology for exposure of some of these firms is impressive... but many of the houses are trying to ride both sides of the market. This blurs the lines a bit. They run the risk (and in fact have done in some cases) of alienating a traditional portion of their client base (the dealers) while attracting a new segment (retail buyers). An auction house is traditionally committed to providing an effective market in that venue. Serving the walk-in retail side of the street requires a different set of "tools", network and staffing to provide services (like service & maintenance) and assurances to retail clientele. Time will tell if how effective and resilient these morphed businesses will be, and what will happen if these markets are further centralized. That said, I know few institutions, businesses, or markets that remain constant over time. Things change. If a Walmart, other big box store, or Amazon is preferable to a local grocer, hardware store, book store or electronics dealer depends on one's point of view. The growth of these businesses shut down many smaller retailers, but tastes and needs can be circular and there are many creative folks out there. It's opened the doors for other specialized entrepreneurs. To expand on what Martin mentioned: I am very aware of what I'm capable of offering my clients as compared to other businesses and business models. Anyone who is serious about the trade, no matter what segment(s) they serve, needs to be. Am I frustrated at times with the changing market? Not really. Occasionally irritated maybe, but that's one of the few things that has remained constant over the decades. BTW: Great building Martin! Looks like we're both going to enjoy some iron work. Here's a shot of my "new" shop's back porch.
  4. A Stainer for only $66,000?

    Clean your pallet, Morgana. It'll make you feel better. If you haven't seen it, I'll mention that the Stainer viola is especially wonderful. Follow the prompts through bowed string instruments before 1800, and then to Stainer for photos. Both violin and viola: Walnut linings & end blocks on the slab intact. Fun stuff.
  5. Crack of Death. Move on?

    I've seen old partial (1/4, 1/3, 1/2) replacements to the top performed by the Hill workshop. Once upon a time, it happened. What the condition was that inspired the decision to replace rather than restore we may never know. Other invasive "improvements", like lowering the arch on some high arched instruments, were in practice and employed by some restorers well into the 20th century.
  6. String Shelf Life

    I don't think that MI person was me. In truth, it probably depends on what sort of strings you're talking about. I doubt there would be much change with the synthetic core or rope core strings if they are properly stored (I think I have some older than a year in my own case). Gut or gut core strings are probably a different matter. The gut is hydroscopic... and the strings may or may not have been "fresh" by the time you purchased them.
  7. Relationship between auction price and retail price

    I also assume the dealer gave the owner an optimistic (unrealistic) idea of what the 'cello was worth at the time to cushion the purchase of the Ruggeri. As I said... house of cards. BTW: I believe I know both instruments that are a part of this drama!
  8. Relationship between auction price and retail price

    Sounds about like what I envisioned. Less screwing around (dealer/consignor) would probably have had the 'cello in your hands sooner. As for the Fetique, the person who set the price with you and sold it is one of those who I feel "do it right". I'm more than pleased and honored to call him friend and colleague. Your experience with him supports my long winded post.
  9. Relationship between auction price and retail price

    I just this last week had a situation in which I was asked to take on an instrument (a Venetian one, funny enough) where the owner was (in my humble opinion) unrealistic about the present value... (and this opinion was supported by the humble opinion of esteemed colleagues and the sales data as well). They originally bought it from me, for a fair price, and it has appreciated well. I also repaired damage caused by them while they owned it (invisibly), and as it was previously in as close to perfect condition as an older fiddle gets, they collected depreciation from their insurance provider. I would have to disclose that repair to a prospective buyer... and the present owner banked those funds long ago. It's a very nice fiddle and I'd love to handle it again. I carefully did my research and told the owner what I was willing to offer it for. If that's not enough for them, they are welcome to shop it, or keep keep it for a while. No harm done. They own it, at least for the present. Their call. If they wish to swim with the sharks, it's up to them. Interestingly enough, they told me that "everyone says you're straight and honest and you've always been that way with me", but they went on to say they wanted to maximize their return. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I told them I'd need to be able to perform for the next owner just as I was performing for them. My numbers are my numbers. I feel they reflect the present reality. Sure, there are "fire-sales" from time to time that result from over-estimation and resulting stale inventory, or cash flow difficulties... but in reality, they just contribute to the data. Knowing what's up with those sales separates those who can reliably read the market from those who cannot. I do NOT get most of my market information from the internet. It's a valuable tool, yes, and auction sales can set a baseline (if one has actually seen and evaluated the instrument), but vague offerings do not tell a story that will hold up in court. Direct knowledge of confirmed sales tell that story, but even then one has to have enough experience to accurately translate the factors of trade-ins, condition, market trends and quality of example. Do all appraisers follow correct procedure? I'm sure not... but I know a great many that do. Is following correct procedure foolproof? No, but it's much more reliable. Don't mean to belabor the point, but a casual observer commenting on what I actually do when I compile and translate market data, perform an appraisal, take on a consignment, or place a 18th century fiddle closely equates to the idiom of the armchair quarterback. You're not taking the hits, my friend. As concerns your 'cello, at the time you purchased it, I would suggest that the anticipatory value set 5 years prior (by the dealer or the owner, who knows!) finally came to fruition. If the 'cello was sold high to the previous owner, and the dealer was the seller then, the 5 years is what it took for the dealer to perform. House of cards. As I can probably guess where your 'cello was purchased (or at least where the offering originated), I'm not at all surprised it took 5 years to do so! If it was consigned, even if the dealer was the previous seller, there was really no skin in the game on the dealers part. They enjoyed their previous profit. If this was the case, the only driving factor to get the job done more quickly would have been ethics and a sense of responsibility... by setting a more defensible price and not being as mercenary about their profit margin.
  10. Relationship between auction price and retail price

    Any dealer offering an instrument for a price they cannot support by use of comparative sales is forecasting (using anticipatory pricing). This, of course, happens. One should "know the players" in the game, their reputation, and their level of experience. Buyers can, and often should, ask questions about how the item is priced (how the dealer supports their price). Expertise/appraisal needs to be accomplished by the use of facts, and not be driven by emotional response to commerce. When appraising, the market being used for comparison must be defined (retail, auction, liquidation, etc.). Without that definition, the document is toilet paper.
  11. Crack of Death. Move on?

    Hang around better workshops.
  12. Crack of Death. Move on?

    Agreed. Dean is safe from the flames for now.
  13. Crack of Death. Move on?

    That looks open, at least in that area, but a good luthier should be able to confirm that quickly with the fiddle in their hands. Resale is severely effected by sound post cracks in the back. Less so for those in the top. By doing the repair correctly.
  14. Vuillaume Authenticity

    You and Michael Remenyi may certainly be absolutely correct (and Michael actually saw the instrument in person), but I honrstly can't tell what it is due to the angles of the photos and the lack of a scroll profile. The anemic ff hole notches are "interesting". When I first viewed the photos I wondered if if might be German, or something like a Caussin (I've seen that wood selection and heavy antiquing stye used in Neufch√Ęteau) or Hungarian. Scroll profile and straight on shots of the plates would probably nail it for me.
  15. Vuillaume Authenticity

    Yes... Fox Mitchell shared a photo of the hieroglyph.