martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. I've since noticed that "ames-anciennes" also provide their own certificates, for instance Thouvenel on Ebay The whole point of a certificate is that it should come from an impartial source.
  2. God's truth - maybe the words are a bit wrong as I wasn't concentrating on it, too busy trying to see who was bidding ......
  3. This particular violin's a very interesting case. I stumbled on it because it sounded phenomenal, one of the 3 best instruments in the sale. Amusingly, it kept getting put in the little enclosure where all the pricey violins were, as if someone wanted to draw attention to it. I looked at it very carefully along with a couple of Italians who were - like me - broadly well informed but not expert. I thought it was a Hungarian "English Workshop" type of thing, definitely not very refined in materials or workmanship, and the varnish was unattractive. Had a conversation with someone else who t
  4. I would point out that the greed and dishonesty on ebay is no different from elsewhere in the violin trade, just more concentrated. As for fine judgments of tone, it's amazing how flexible people become about sound when they're getting a really good deal! The retail trade and its pricing structure has absolutely nothing to do with sound, and many people appreciate my "parallel economy". I'm not saying that valuable violins aren't ....... um .... valuable. It's just that with their eyes closed most professionals would be very happy with a 4 figure good French trade violin. If tone is not you
  5. Haha, that one was brilliant have to go out now but I'll tell you a funny story later ..... by the way, fantastic sounding violin, I was planning to bid £6500!
  6. Not entirely sure if I'd have been more miserable if I HAD bought it! Certainly feeling miserable that I didn't ......
  7. The estimate was ridiculously high .... BUT it was a fantastic violin, a complete joy to play, and deserved to sell for the revised low estimate of £115K. The ex-Christie Montagnana at Bromptons didn't sell for £250K, though they sold one with undisturbed f-holes last year for £550K.
  8. I'm just thinking out loud, and trying to fathom why this particularly dire Fagnola should be the one to set a record. But I agree that most records are set by collectors with an obsessional and fetishistic need to own a particular thing .... I have set one myself! But that was for a violin that sounded phenomenal, and which re-sold to a great player within a couple of months. I just bid a stupid amount for a Hippolyte Silvestre - fortunately I was saved from penury by someone even more deranged than myself. Once again, the book price didn't reflect the quality of tone.
  9. If I type in "antique violin" (which I would say is the most popular search for ebay gamblers struck with tarisio fever) you are number 1 and number 7. Way to go! I have to confess to a huge dollop of professional jealousy.
  10. "I can't tell to much about it" - a sublime example of ebayese translation : this is far less good than I want you to think it is ... This seller is a professional musician and very expert in violins - he knows exactly what it is (in my opinion an OK but revarnished late 19th century Bohemian violin) I've made the point before, but soundfiles are another red flag for me, just like extra large photos and private listings.
  11. I think anyone who wants to would be able to inflate the prices for a particular maker, for instance Fagnola or maybe Lembock. Do auction houses cancel the sale result if the item is never paid for? Don't think so. So if you want to get a high book price recorded for an instrument, you'd just have to register to bid over the phone with some fake details and then disappear.
  12. I'm always a bit wary of Derazeys, most are Laberte instruments. Even branded H. Derazey violins are generally trade instruments ... The Juste Derazey lot 38 (estimate 5-7K) is a far better sounding instrument than lot 55 but definitely a bit tradey in comparison. In general looks and workmanship triumph over sound but I think 10K is too steep!
  13. No brush is broad enough in my view, though I was only talking about sellers with high watch counts. I'm surprised that Mr. Hound has posted a link to watchcount - I suppose it will take a lot of people to his eBay items, but it also demonstrates that he's hanging with a pretty louche crew.
  14. Yes I played that too - I thought it was very comparable, in other words just as bad. What did you like? Wish I'd known you were there, it would have been fun to meet.
  15. Well .........yes, but it's a completely circular and self-fulfilling argument. Next time a Fagnola comes up, people look at previous sales figures, £130K becomes a figure on which the next estimate is set etc etc. The auction houses make an increasingly tidy sum, and unlike the buyer they won't have to suffer the noise this terrible violin puts out. Thinks ..... if I had 4 or 5 Fagnolas sitting in my house, the best way to increase their value would be to buy another at a record price. What an ingenious plan - I wonder if anyone else has thought of that. Sitting through these au
  16. I can confirm the Korean gentlewoman and the phone bidder ... as for who it was, that's some soft spot!
  17. The Cati was sensational, and very good value ..... Paolo de Barbieri likewise. The Pierre Silvestre was great too. I'm afraid the Hendrik Jacobs didn't get my vote sound-wise. Vuillaume was a bit boring, but the Rogeri had the WOW factor, impossibly beautiful sound, almost worth £300K! Worst violin in the room : Pietro Sgarabotto! but that's just me
  18. Particularly high given that it sounded dire .... not the worst violin in the room but close. I played it blind (with the help of my trusty assistant) and couldn't believe it when I discovered what it was. But it's a sexy name, and that red colour shows up well online! The de Barbieri which sounded sublime sold for £14,000, £1000 below its estimate ..... still kicking myself.
  19. this only seems to go back 15 days - am i missing something? You can check back 3 months by looking at the seller's feedback, but I think that's it these days ....
  20. Just had a look through the most watched items in the US. What a vale of tears awaits .....! Apart from Mr Hound's unimpeachable offerings (which as a gentleman I refrained from viewing) the rest is mis-described, very poor, or downright criminal. 2 early 20th century violins described as early 19th century, a fake neck graft, several fake Italian labels, a "French" violin which isn't, and a very basic JTL with an inflated valuation/certificate provided by the seller. And some dire Bohemian rubbish. I rest my case.
  21. It seems to me that the items which get highest watch count are the most dodgy - like Bereznitsky's endless procession of "Italian" violins. Like moths to a flame, eBay buyers are drawn inexorably towards their own doom!
  22. For what it's worth, speaking as someone who has sold over 400 instruments and bows on eBay, mainly French trade violins and better ....... I think the only fair way to sell on eBay is to include a realistic retail estimate. i suppose some lower level sellers aren't knowledgeable enough to do that, but if I was an uninformed buyer, I would buy from someone who knows exactly what the instrument is worth and who is prepared to put a cap on excessive bidding by stating that fact in the listing. I love these sellers who say "I haven't had the time to have it valued" or "no experts have seen this
  23. There may be levels of irony in the previous posts that escape me. Irony is meant to be more a British thing than an American thing, but as Americans keep pointing out, we don't even know how to pronounce the word .... This is a Vuillaume. I played it today - the sound was average to good, nothing to write home about, unlike the Gagliano which didn't sell and played twice as well. However, no doubt about its authenticity, and 1829 is quite late for worrying about neck grafts. The Vuillaume in Sothebys tomorrow is similar in sound, definitely not "world class" either. The Tarisio instrum
  24. There are a few different issues here, but my view would be ... 1. Hallmarking a silver or gold mounted bow is vandalism, even if the bow is pretty rubbish to start with! It achieves absolutely nothing, and would only be done by some deluded individual who thinks it may add value to an otherwise unsellable bow. 2. Changes to the balance point by modifications to the lapping are carried out routinely and are relatively harmless as they can always be reversed. Fashions change, and teachers keep coming up with different formulations about weight, balance point etc. We struggle to accomodate
  25. In my opinion you should try selling an instrument with a "Buy It Now or Best Offer ..." listing. Put it up for 30 days or "good till cancelled" and see what sort of interest you get. If you're not used to selling on eBay, don't list it with a low starting price and no reserve! I sell quite a few new instruments on eBay at fixed prices - they do sell, but they don't sell fast! For instance this sort of thing : Viola As someone else mentioned, even if your violin doesn't sell this way it will get a lot of viewers, and it all helps to spread the word. A lot of people come to my website via e