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Posts posted by jamesbuchanan

  1. Dear All,

    This is utterly my fault - and thank you for flagging it up.

    At the first pass, I thought the brand looked like that of Fetique. I was wrong - it was Caressa & Francais. I changed it in the title, but it seems I forgot to change the brand in the description. Entirely my fault - changed on the catalogue and a small sale-room notice of shame.

    Sorry again - and thank you for pointing it out!

    Best wishes


  2. 16 minutes ago, matesic said:

    James - I'm looking at lot 20. Why doesn't Monsieur Breveté's name appear in Jalovec I wonder..?

    Oh Urgh - slightly hard to answer this one, but it is a fair point. It's a cataloguing problem more than anything. J T-L probably but not entirely definitely, so I thought I would catalogue generally. Happy to revise if you can come up with a more satisfactory description. Truth be told it is far from being the instrument I focussed on the most.

  3. 21 minutes ago, Shelbow said:

    Amati auction now up

    UK) Amati - October 22nd - November 3rd (2021) - Specialist Instruments - https://app.amati.com/en/auction/1082-amati-specialist-3rd-november/detail

    Thanks Shelbow,

    I can't speak for other auction houses, although I suspect it might be the same, but this is the first almost-normal auction we have had since the pandemic kicked off. It feels good to get back to some semblance of normal. A lot of the clients that we have seen over the last few months have been frustrated by not finding it easy to sell lately, so estimates should be rather fun. 

    There's another thread on how auctions might cope post-Brexit in London. I think - and pray fervently - that we should be fine. I have popped abroad a fair bit (and everything is abroad now) and it is almost like the old days... with just a lot more paperwork on our side to pick up at the end of it.

    My general, meandering post-auction release thoughts are... this auction, after a 20 month lacuna is probably the new 'normal', we have done our best our side, but it will be interesting to see how it goes.

    Best wishes to all,


  4. 1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

    expect admonishment from Amati shortly:)

    No admonishment - but FL is definitely not closing. As with quite a few dealerships it ends up that there is more wood than any workshop could use in a few centuries. Storage space in central London is hardly cheap so...

    A lot of the wood has passed through a few hands before FL - the keen eyed will recognise quite a few workshop marks. There is even some wood from Hills in there.

    Hope that helps!

  5. 15 hours ago, violinnewb said:

    WHERE IS THE AMATI catalogue that was supposed to come out May 14???  Been looking for it non-stop lol

    Moring Violinnewb, yes, sorry. The sale proved to be much larger than we had expected and between cataloguing and pulling together our June Specialist sale I think our catalogue deadline was more aspirational than normal.

    One of the main issues I have is how on earth to catalogue wood. This is our fourth (?) makers' sale and I don't think I have managed to find the perfect description of what are - at their most basic - blocks of wood. If anybody wants to kick in once the descriptions are live and tell me how to improve clarity, please crack on.

    So, apologies - it should be up today, ideally before lunch. The team are just casting their laser eyeballs over the descriptions for typos.

    Best wishes,



  6. 19 minutes ago, twcellist said:

    Took a quick peak and rather disappointed at the celli they have. :mellow: Not sure why Amati in general have not had any good celli lately...

    Good Afternoon Mr. Twcellist - nobody regrets the absence more than I, but you can probably guess why it is hard to find good cellos in the current climate.

    My experience is that it is much harder to do any business at all during Lockdown V3. We managed to keep spinning along through 2020, but - and with good reason - people are less likely to meet at all now that they know the vaccine is round the corner. 

    I am praying that when things clear up then I can leap around the UK like a gazelle, and, then, when things become easier internationally hop on planes, but in the meantime you are definitely looking at a tightening of supply.


  7. Pah - it's not the Welsh Police I'm worried about, I have just been nobbled for speeding by the Gloucestershire Constabulary. You would have thought they had better things to do on an empty road on a Sunday morning.

    @matesic we will be doing a collection day in London. Most likely (almost certainly) after the December sale - which should go live today. That way I can combine collection for the two auctions in one go.

    By the way, thank you to everybody who bid, or even who took the time to go through the stuff. Genuinely grateful.

    From a Maestronet hive-mind perspective, we will have c. 330 lots in the December auction, and we are going to have to split it over two days. Should I do two 'book-matched' auctions i.e. each day leads with cellos, then violins etc., or should I just do the first day all violins and cellos, the second violas, bows... other stuff?

    Any views gratefully accepted.


  8. 1 hour ago, Yogic said:

    Customer feedbacks are important and if the auction house is smart they would listen to someone who buys from them regularly and is a regular customer  than someone who has nothing to do with them.

    Thanks @Yogic, totally agree about customer feedback, although I am not sure that a public forum on a website is the perfect vehicle for it. Thank you for buying from us. The curse of anonymity is that I don't know what you have bought, but as any buyers are good news. Genuinely - thank you. One of the dangers of anonymity is that we attack the person, thinking we are attacking the argument. I hope I haven't done so, but apologise if I have.

    I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole of attributions publicly. If you wish, I am happy to answer any private messages you wish to send.

    On the same subject of feedback @Shelbow thanks for the point about the scroll. Not sure why we have never done it - we shall. Hopefully over Monday / Tuesday. I think we might be able to do it in time.

    Oh - and on sending bows / violins to the States. @PhilipKT a lot of buyers are from your side of the pond. We do all the paperwork (and shipping) our side and it is fairly effortless (says the man who isn't working until 11pm trying to pack ten cellos for shipment). If you have any questions, do get in touch with Elena or Sarah. Both masters of their art.

    We do our best, but I am totally aware we drop the ball sometimes - thanks to you chaps who put a good word in. Genuinely grateful.



  9. 18 hours ago, Yogic said:

    What is the deal with Amati specialist auctions ? Half the lots seem to be made possibly or probably by. Even a fairly common commercial maker like Collin Mezin is listed as probably. Cant they use an expert to authenticate what they sell and limit the 'probably' to the rarest of all ? It seems like walking through a minefield browsing the  lots ! :angry:

    Well Mr. Yogic, that's you off my Christmas card list. Although as you might have shoved some people towards our website as a result, I might reconsider.

    Taking the slightly emotive language out of it, you have make some interesting points.

    1 - 'Probably'. Almost certainly over-employed in this auction, but there are usually reasons. I would be absolutely fine with the Collin-Mezin were the date not so early. It feels like an example from c.1905-10.

    The Dupuy looks good, but the only comparative example I can find, while similar, is of a different model. Without getting wearily under-grad about it, pretty much all opinion is a balance of probabilities and perhaps the current market conditions are making me more risk-averse than usual. If you know your Dupuys Mr Yogic, fill your boots.

    2 - 

    16 hours ago, Yogic said:

     The current crop of auction houses need to focus on selling good items and not accept anything and everything just for revenue.

    Well, it's hard to know where to start on this one. I think (if it's ok with you) that we will continue to sell instruments that our buyers want to buy and our sellers want to sell. I won't pretend the revenue isn't welcome either. 

    I like threads like these, they give auctions publicity and sometimes give some genuinely valuable feedback that we try to implement into our auctions, so no stress my end. If you want to launch a zinger back though please bear in mind it's been the first day off I have had for about four months and I am about to re-introduce myself to the joys of Lidl Rioja.


  10. 2 hours ago, Shelbow said:

    Of course, no offense intended

    None taken at all - you put your finger on an interesting problem that a lot of auction houses are going to be struggling with. Specialist auction houses are going to be particularly challenged... fun times ahead.

    1 hour ago, Shelbow said:

    Lots are now up for the Stroud auction rooms

    I grew up near Stroud - some very, very happy teenage years there.

  11. On 6/12/2020 at 4:59 PM, Shelbow said:

    Amati sale is live / being uploaded now. Quite underwhelming so far, I hope they add some more violins.....

    We're doing our best! 

    Since lockdown we have had three auctions, and this will be our fourth. There are a few nuggets, some fairly decent cellos and a violin or two, but I take your point, which is going to be the same problem most auction houses are going to be having.

    The nub. We can't find instruments easily, and as we sell c.85% Specialist (and 100% of Affordable) instruments first time round, we don't have many re-offers to rinse and repeat ad infinitum (or nauseam).

    This is a supply-side problem at the moment and a fascinating one we are trying to crack. Trying to navigate our way between vague advice from the government, understandable caution from vendors and a temporary pause to international travel is an interesting three dimensional puzzle. Not to mention that by far the most valuable person to Amati is Sarah, which means that I should be at home child-wrangling.

    So here's a plea - if anyone wants us to sell anything (anything!) violins, cellos, grandmothers etc., then please get in touch. 

    Best wishes to all


  12. 38 minutes ago, Shelbow said:

    I wonder if they might have to re run the auction. 


    @jamesbuchanan hope you are able to sort everything out.

    Yes. Thanks for tagging me. The servers weren't autoscaling and although we fixed it in a few minutes, some people weren't able to place bids and we felt that it was appropriate to delay the end time by 24 hours. This has never happened to us before and we are doing a post-mortem. It may have been a combination of low reserves and quite a strong marketing drive but I will know more tomorrow. Huge apologies to anybody bidding. So far the bidders have been (mostly) very decent. Apologies again.

  13. On 5/7/2020 at 10:21 AM, keyboardclass said:

    Like Martin I won't consider anything without a play so I usually go to Wales for the preview but as I couldn't this time I ignored the auction.  Yes, prices are hard to understand!   I hope James is doing OK in the present climate.

    Keyboard class, thank you for your concern.

    I have never been better. Eight (?) weeks without travelling or violin hunting has been the purest possible heaven. Sarah is holding the fort at work and juggling rather well. I am bringing some boundaries and stern parenting to the house during the day and the girls now look on me with renewed respect. Housework is remarkably easy as long as I ignore the boring stuff and focus on things like cooking and brewing kombucha. Sarah has been rendered almost speechless on her return from the office. I assume she is mute with wonder at the New Regime.

    Amati is in good shape, although I think we are all starting to wonder what the next phase of gathering will bring. How on earth we will find the next auction is going to be interesting. It's not as if we are sitting on many un-solds from March.

    Genuinely, if somebody has a good idea I am all ears.

    Hope you are all keeping well and that lockdown isn't too ghoulish.




  14. 1 minute ago, BowBow said:

    I'm watching a few things on the Amati sale at the moment, hopefully there are a few weird things I can acquire. I already have one thing I got from the last affordable that I need to pickup or get shipped to me depending how this sale goes.

    @James Buchanan

    Just one thought from a buying perspective, it would be great if the watch list of the client zone could have a small thumbnail of the auction item next to the lot. Just because sometimes it is quite east to get a bit lost during the final bidding.

    That's a good idea. I will ask the devs to have a look at it. We keep rolling functionality out, but too often it is based on a cunning idea I have had, as opposed to genuine feedback from clients. 

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