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  1. This is part of a scheme to launder drug money. Sell worthless violins for real money so it seems like your income is legit.
  2. Funny that I saw this thread, since I had just come to Mastronet to see what people had to say about Bestviolins. He has some very nice looking, seemingly old violins (to judge by the finish). But they don't have the cracks and other damage you would expect in a bunch of older fiddles. I wonder if they are German violins. Perhaps htey are all new Chinese violins with faked old varnish. It reminds me of a comment I once saw about fake old duck decoys: no one ever wants a duck with a broken bill. So the fakes never have a broken bill. And these violins don't have any offputting damage like cracks or open seams.
  3. This won't count as proof exactly, but my fiddle has no saddle cracks!
  4. I have a violin, probably German-made about 50 years old, with an interesting saddle. Rather than being embedded all the way through the top, as is typical, it is very neatly mortised half way through the plate. Is this characteristic of a particular region or school of violin-making? John
  5. Thanks for the advice. I'll forget the ebay cello and go the rental route. That is a good point about the private teacher. My daughter began violin in a school program and eventually moved to private lessons; after seeing how much faster she progressed with a private teacher she regretted not making the move much sooner (I had usggested it, she resisted). I saw the school district's string teachers performing together and his future teacher was playing the bass. I don't know if that qualifies him to teach cello, but it is probably better than being a violinist. John
  6. My ten year old son is about to start cello in a school program. Thre are lots of 1/2 cellos available on ebay for $200 to $300. I was wondering if anyone had experience with these instruments, and know how they compare to the typical cello from rental program. Here is a link to a typical ebay cello: ViewItem">http://cgi.ebay.com/New-HANDMA...WQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem John
  7. The "contract" you enter into when you list an item on ebay, or submit a bid, may be binding in principle, but not in fact, because it generally costs too much on either side to enfoce the contract. Ebay can't make this seller ship the item, not can they force someone to pay for an auction they won. If a buyer or seller is unafraid of bad feedback, there is no effective enforcement. Despite this, nearly all of my ebay transactions have been good. John
  8. I'm not an expert but I think it would be terribly unwise to buy a violin for a college audition over ebay. She will want a violin that feels and sounds right to her. She will not get that violin over ebay, which is a crapshoot. You might pay $5K and get a really bad violin. Go to a store! She should play the instrument a lot before buying it. Just completely forget about ebay for this purchase.
  9. Ihave bought a number of violins on ebay. Half of them have been disappointing, and half have been very good values. All in all, a good average. Look closely at the pictures; read feedback; and don't expect to get a great violin for peanuts. Be wary if the pictures are low resolution. John
  10. If you click "buy it now," it means you are confident in your ability to judge the value of the violin. A lot of people lack that confidence. The auction format is comfortable because it means (barring shill bidders) that if you win, there was someone else who thought the instrument was worth almost as much as you did. The price ends up where it does because of other people's judgments, not just your own. I think that is why it makes sense to start the bidding low. That gets people interested. The most bids there are on a violin, the more bidders are likely to think it is a good violin. Comfort in numbers!
  11. There is an interesting article on Slate about research by economists on auction behavior on Slate. The most important finding by researchers (who conducted experiments selling Pokemon cards) is that a secret reserve reduces final sale prices, probably by turning potential bidders away. Are violins different than Pokemon cards? Check it out here: http://www.slate.com/id/2166662?nav=ais John
  12. I agree that the Schlosser has a nice back, but that is the kind of maple I associate with Chinese fiddles. The workmanship looks good, but I don't see many signs of age.
  13. He's selling the Stainer for $25,000 but won't pay for an appraisal because they cost too much.
  14. I doubt it's Italiam, but it DOES have a hygrometer, for sure!!
  15. A lof of violins described as french have the scroll outlined in black as this one does. Is that a reliable indicator of frenchness? John
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