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reepicheep

Anybody see this yesterday?!

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It went up almost ten grand in the last five minutes... starting at $9.99 mind you! The guy had no idea what he had until somebody came by his place and looked at it.

After that he revised the listing saying the winner had 7 days to authenticate the instrument, and if they weren't satisfied, he'd refund the money. I emaild and asked where he got it, and here's the reply:

"This violin was found under a bed in a house in Green Bay. The local hospital had purchased the property and solicited offers for the contents. The high bidder had no idea the violin was in the house and no idea what it was worth after he purchased it."

I would love to see how this turns out!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...me=STRK:MEWA:IT

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I saw that one. Carl Becker is considered by some in this forum to be the best American maker. So if it's a Becker, and you have $20,000, then maybe it was a good deal. I don't know Becker's, and although The photos are decent, it doesn't really look all that great to me.

No real reason to think it's ~not~ a Becker, except that it's offered on ebay and labels are useless in general.

Does anyone who knows think that's a Becker violin?

And is $22,000 better than wholesale for one? I wonder how the good the bow may be?

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I`m with you on this ,i `m not a great fan of the look of them ,they look like Mirecourt violins to me,but Americans seem to prize them for their tone.I don`t know how special they are supposed to be ,but the prices tend to go alot higher than that one.

I can remember one at Sothebys in London around a couple of years ago and it sold for something like 20K GBP which is around 35k$.It was bought by an American though!

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Quote:

And is $22,000 better than wholesale for one?


Err...uh...what?? Wholesale? I never thought that the term 'wholesale' applied to master makers. No one goes into Sotheby's looking to get a Strad or Vuillaume for wholesale.

According to this month's Strad, Carl F. violins (which I'm assuming that it is) are going for $36k. I don't know about you, but I'd jump at the chance to save $14,000!

Quote:

I wonder how the good the bow may be


If I was able to get a Becker for 22K, I wouldn't really care too much about what the bow was like. LoL

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I think the term "wholesale" applies to auction prices in the way they reflect an average discount over dealer prices for similar articles.

In other words, not a bulk "discount" such as if WallMart were to order two dozen Beckers.

BTW, I feel uneasy about that violin being a Becker myself. The photos aren't all that revealing, but the varnish wear, heavy edges etc. don't bear much resemblance to the photos of Beckers I've seen before. Not that I've made much of a study of those, but it doesn't even look like a maker's (as opposed to commercial/trade/factory) instrument.

Here are images of a 1925 Carl Becker on the Becker website. What do you think?

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Beckers are great. A very nice, refined tone with projection, impeccable workmanship, and quality. Becker Sr.'s are prized even more than Becker Jr.'s.

Some don't care for their tone, but so what? Also, they have a rather bright, very soft varnish and are not antiqued. This one is a little peculiar in that it has a lot of nicks from the bow, but little other wear. Assuming it's a Becker, it looks like it has had little use except by an amateur.

After all this time it may need some work. I don't know, but I'm guessing Becker's shop would want to recondition it a bit.

I'm not entirely sure that's a Becker, though. And there are some peculiarities. Hard to tell from the photos. Irregularities in the surface of the varnish. Also, the prominent, peculiar mark above the f hole is seen only in one of three photos. Not sure about the shape of the f holes, either. Disclaimers: (1) I am not an expert; (2) I don't have pictures of Beckers in front of me; (3) my memory for violin details is not at all infallible.

Note added later:

My message crossed with Jacob's in the mail.

Beckers are usually very nice looking after a few decades of age. It's awfully hard to tell from those lousy photos. After rotating one of the photos, it does look more Beckerish, subject to the caveats I mentioned. As for fiddlecollector's message, I never heard of a Becker that was antiqued by anything but age, but what do I know? To me, the picture shown by fiddlecollector looks rather misleading in color, but I believe him that it's genuine, I guess.

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It looks very similar to one that was pointed out on US ebay last year or earlier this year.I think that one went for around 14K$

Heres a pic of the one i refered to from Sothebys ,Becker senior 1924 ,which looks somewhat antiqued to me.(and alot better than the one on ebay if its real.) 3W3XZ_L02252-86.jpg

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Interesting. I've seen non-Strad copies, but never antiqued. Of course, I have seen far fewer than you have. What about the first one? I suppose that is plausible? It's so hard to tell with the lousy pictures.

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PaganiniViola,

I was assuming a retail price of $35,000. If that's accurate, then $22,000 is a favorable wholesale price, assuming the buyer will resell the violin. Since that's not what you would do, you may be thinking that $22K is great compared to what you'd pay in a shop, and it is. But what are you really getting?

Jacob is right (thanks, Jacob). I was referring to the fact that sales on ebay are typically below what I referred to as 'wholesale'. Dealers--car dealers, violin dealers, all 'dealers'--buy at wholesale and sell to you and me at retail. They can do that because they know their products and can recondition, repair, and service them. You pay for their knowledge and experience, and implicit in that purchase is your trust that they are selling you an authentic product in good condition.

You won't get that from the average picker at estate auctions, like the person who sold the violin in question.

Auction prices are usually wholesale, although sometimes they are 'liquidation' prices, where the seller is saying "I don't care really what this is, I just want to unload it". Ebay, on the other hand, is all over the place. Some people think they have a treasure when they clearly have a turd. We all avoid those sales, like "Vintage German Violin with Stratovarious label, $3,500,000". But if I'm buying something I'm not sure about, based on photographs, from someone I don't know, who as likely as not is a scammer, I'm not going to pay more than a liquidation price.

You may go to an auction and pay a retail price, but dealers don't. And you might even pay a retail price for an item on ebay, but always at your peril, because you really don't know what your going to get.

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"Err...uh...what?? Wholesale? I never thought that the term 'wholesale' applied to master makers. No one goes into Sotheby's looking to get a Strad or Vuillaume for wholesale."

Just to add to Jack's response, above: everything that's sold has a wholesale and a retail price: that's how sellers make their living, and they do it by providing additional services over the price of the violin. If you buy at a wholesale price in the violin business, you usually get an unguaranteed violin with no condition guarantees or report (you'd better look real hard, because if there's a post crack in the back, it's your problem), and possibly not in working order. You also don't get to take it home for a week and ask all your friends what they think of it, and you don't get any backup support--repairs, setups in the future, committment to sell it for you in the future or take it in trade against something else. You buy it then and there when you see it, and it's yours, no matter what. Very often, but not invariably, violins at auction--even Strads--have failed to sell in a series of normal venues, and the auction is the last-ditch effort to get out from under it. As Jack says, there are sometimes mitigating circumstances, such as needing to liquidate an estate.

In short, usually you get in proportion to what you pay, one way or another, though you may not understand that (both the advantages and disadvantages) at the time. Remember, no one will willingly sell something with the potential of being worth $XXX for a third or half of that until they've exhausted their possibilities at full price, and there's usually some concrete reason the full price can't be had. It's good to know that, and to try to figure out why that's happening, if that SEEMS to be the case. Sometimes it's as simple as a seller or dealer needing cash today rather than next month so he can do a better deal on something else that you're not involved in; sometimes it means the merchandise has a fatal flaw that everyone (except you) already knows about.

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Back in the 1920's and 30's there was a violin teacher named Walter Larsen living and teaching in the Green Bay area. He apperently was a close personal friend of Carl Becker Sr., and in fact I've seen his name listed as an "endorser" of Becker violins in an early Lewis & Sons cataloge. It is said that Walter Larsen helped some of his wealthier and more advanced students to acquire Becker violins durring the time he taught here. I kinow of two that surfaced here in Green Bay prior to this one. Rumor has it that there may have been as many as a dozen instruments sold in the Green Bay area. I know that I've got my eyes open for some more attic/basement/under the bed fiddles!

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