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ebay curiosity


mike
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am i imagining it, or are there valuable violins (many north american, and french, as well as some better german) going for next to nothing on the ebay? i have seen some, that no matter what hidden problems there might be, they seem way underpriced. should i be pursuing instruments though ebay? any good or bad experiences? would any of you dealers/luthiers be willing to say if you have gotten instruments through ebay?

thanks,

mike

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I have purchased several violins on behalf of some of my clients through e-bay. What I see there is not invariably a good deal. In my view, buying violins at auction is generally not for anyone but dealers. Many items at auction are represented in a way that is deceptive to those outside the trade. A buyer on e-bay has little recourse against a trade misdescription involving condition or authenticity. Violins are difficult items to understand and difficult items to sell. Most would-be purchasers are better off trusting a credible dealer with a generous trade in policy.Still there are those that are compelled to seek out a "deal." Certainly some excellent purchases have been made on e-bay.

S. Hersh

: am i imagining it, or are there valuable violins (many north american, and french, as well as some better german) going for next to nothing on the ebay? i have seen some, that no matter what hidden problems there might be, they seem way underpriced. should i be pursuing instruments though ebay? any good or bad experiences? would any of you dealers/luthiers be willing to say if you have gotten instruments through ebay?

: thanks,

: mike

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: I have purchased several violins on behalf of some of my clients through e-bay. What I see there is not invariably a good deal. In my view, buying violins at auction is generally not for anyone but dealers. Many items at auction are represented in a way that is deceptive to those outside the trade. A buyer on e-bay has little recourse against a trade misdescription involving condition or authenticity. Violins are difficult items to understand and difficult items to sell. Most would-be purchasers are better off trusting a credible dealer with a generous trade in policy.Still there are those that are compelled to seek out a "deal." Certainly some excellent purchases have been made on e-bay.

: S. Hersh

: : am i imagining it, or are there valuable violins (many north american, and french, as well as some better german) going for next to nothing on the ebay? i have seen some, that no matter what hidden problems there might be, they seem way underpriced. should i be pursuing instruments though ebay? any good or bad experiences? would any of you dealers/luthiers be willing to say if you have gotten instruments through ebay?

: : thanks,

: : mike

Well, I had secured severals violin and not so lucky to get what I expected. I had a few bad experiences with unscrupulous sellers, usually not regular ebay user. Conditions misrepresented and refuse to compensate. Well, let buyer be bewared when bidding on ebay.

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: Well, I had secured severals violin and not so lucky to get what I expected. I had a few bad experiences with unscrupulous sellers, usually not regular ebay user. Conditions misrepresented and refuse to compensate. Well, let buyer be bewared when bidding on ebay.

You say you have secured several violins and you have not been
lucky? Have you gotten any good deals? or were
they all bad deals?



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I personally have not been stung or won big because I have only bought things on e-bay, on behalf of my clients. I would characterize the deals as good not great and no one that I have helped has gotten stung, although I have seen what I would call blatant misrepresentation occuring on e-bay. Mimi, consider your motivation carefully before you get brave!

S. Hersh

: : Well, I had secured severals violin and not so lucky to get what I expected. I had a few bad experiences with unscrupulous sellers, usually not regular ebay user. Conditions misrepresented and refuse to compensate. Well, let buyer be bewared when bidding on ebay.

: You say you have secured several violins and you have not been

: lucky? Have you gotten any good deals? or were

: they all bad deals?

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I have purchased 20 violins of differing quality from sellers on Ebay. All of them required repairs, setup and adjustment, but that is why I bought them. I can get a decent German violin for $125.00 bucks or so, repair and set it up, and sell it for $500.00 at one of several shops that do my consignment work.

15 of them were good quality student violins, 3 were very good French violins, 2 were actual master-pieces that the seller had not taken the time to research.

I know that the prices on ebay seem incredible, but one has to keep in mind that the instruments will require extensive setup. I am fortunate that I can do the repairs myself, thus saving alot of money and increasing my bottom line.

Keep in mind that I consider the ebay violins as diamonds in the rough. With proper questioning of the seller you can minimize your exposure to sellers who inflate the quality of the instrument offered for sale.

steve

P.S. I have been ripped off 3 times by sellers who did not ship the violin after it was paid for. These cases are now being investigated. I now check the user information and speak to the seller on the phone before sending payment. Also, I pay with a personal check so that I have the deposit info on the person cashing the check, and mail the payment out Express Mail so that I have tracking number, signiture, and return recept when the person gets my payment. It makes filing mail fraud charges much easier.

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I agree with Steve's comments. If you can fix up fiddles ebay instruments can be a good deal. I think you have to accept the fact that you will be ripped off every now and then. Of course the Ebay company will be NO HELP to you when that happens. Like steve, I've bought about 10 fiddles on ebay. I'd say 3 were good buys and one was a total rip off. I returned the fiddle (as agreed) to the seller because it was misrepresented and he kept my money. (at $275 it was the most expensive fiddle I'd purchased). That loss pretty much makes up for good deal I got on the other 3. The biggest disadvantage to ebay is that you have no idea what the instruments sound like. If you are looking for a player then it's much better (and cheaper in the long run) to go to dealers and try out lots of fiddles.

Bottom line: Have fun with ebay but don't expect to win every time. It's like a slot machine . . . . you might when on the first time but odds are you'll lose.

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I personally have not bought anything on Ebay....but, I have three customers who did. As others have explained, they needed complete overhaul and set-up.

All three cost more to repair than they were worth, so I sent them back to the customers.

Al

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: : Well, I had secured severals violin and not so lucky to get what I expected. I had a few bad experiences with unscrupulous sellers, usually not regular ebay user. Conditions misrepresented and refuse to compensate. Well, let buyer be bewared when bidding on ebay.

: You say you have secured several violins and you have not been

: lucky? Have you gotten any good deals? or were

: they all bad deals?

Well, too bad either I paid the right price or too much but I am still trying my luck. In my opinion, there are so many potential bidders worldwide are looking thru the lists and most at least have sound knowledge on this subject. So whenever there is any good one listed imagine the amount of bidders trying to escalate the price. Good luck

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: I have purchased 20 violins of differing quality from sellers on Ebay. All of them required repairs, setup and adjustment, but that is why I bought them. I can get a decent German violin for $125.00 bucks or so, repair and set it up, and sell it for $500.00 at one of several shops that do my consignment work.

: 15 of them were good quality student violins, 3 were very good French violins, 2 were actual master-pieces that the seller had not taken the time to research.

: I know that the prices on ebay seem incredible, but one has to keep in mind that the instruments will require extensive setup. I am fortunate that I can do the repairs myself, thus saving alot of money and increasing my bottom line.

: Keep in mind that I consider the ebay violins as diamonds in the rough. With proper questioning of the seller you can minimize your exposure to sellers who inflate the quality of the instrument offered for sale.

: steve

: P.S. I have been ripped off 3 times by sellers who did not ship the violin after it was paid for. These cases are now being investigated. I now check the user information and speak to the seller on the phone before sending payment. Also, I pay with a personal check so that I have the deposit info on the person cashing the check, and mail the payment out Express Mail so that I have tracking number, signiture, and return recept when the person gets my payment. It makes filing mail fraud charges much easier.

Hi Steve, I have been ripped off once. Made payment and seller refuses to reply after that. How do I seek redress? Thanks

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My problem is that I sent payment thru normal mail unregistered and check had since been cleared. Thanks

: Get the user profile from Ebay support, see if it is a valid address and phone number.

: contact the post office and get the mail fraud packet. It is about 5 pages of data to fill out. It is a felony, and the post office will pursue them.

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: I have purchased 20 violins of differing quality from sellers on Ebay. All of them required repairs, setup and adjustment, but that is why I bought them. I can get a decent German violin for $125.00 bucks or so, repair and set it up, and sell it for $500.00 at one of several shops that do my consignment work.

: 15 of them were good quality student violins, 3 were very good French violins, 2 were actual master-pieces that the seller had not taken the time to research.

- Can you tell us the 2 actual master-pieces? What were your diamonds-in-the-rough?

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As with gambling, e-bay bidders should bet only as much as they are willing to lose. I have had some modest successes and at least one monumental disaster dealing with e-bay. As another respondent pointed out e-bay itself is NO HELP in dealing with unscrupulous sellers. Furthermore, the feedback history for a seller is not very helpful. If the seller only defrauds someone occasionally, the negative feedback is overwhelmed by the other and it looks as if the unhappy buyers are just cranks. One notorious seller in the Pacific Northwest has made a career of using positive feedback from a lot of routine transactions to cover the occasional outrageous deception. I will provide the name of this party via private e-mail to anyone who wishes to know.

: am i imagining it, or are there valuable violins (many north american, and french, as well as some better german) going for next to nothing on the ebay? i have seen some, that no matter what hidden problems there might be, they seem way underpriced. should i be pursuing instruments though ebay? any good or bad experiences? would any of you dealers/luthiers be willing to say if you have gotten instruments through ebay?

: thanks,

: mike

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: My problem is that I sent payment thru normal mail unregistered and check had since been cleared. Thanks

Then you have the address that you mailed the check to, and you have the cancled check with the persons ID on it. That's good, that's more than enough for a mail fraud claim. Go the post office and get the packet, use the email that you got when you won the high bid, and prosecute the crook !!!!

steve

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Diamonds in the rough that I got from Ebay:

Francios Pillement, 1810 price $700.00 sold for $3000.00

Francios Pillement, 1800, Cremona model, price, $1100.00 sold for $4000.00

Johanns Georgious Hellmer, 1760, price, $250.00 sold for $6000.00

Master pieces:

Jean Joseph Honore' Derazey, 1830, from the Vuillaume shop. This violin was advertised as "An unlabled violin, with orange varnish that is worn off in spots". When I got for $250.00, I repaired and restored it, and then got appraisals. One shop tried to compare it with the work from the Derazey shop circa 1850, and gave me a value of $18,000.00. The Derazey shop was much more comercial and his work was of lesser quality than when he worked at the Vuillaume shop, so I kept checking, next appraisal was for $25,000.00, I then found out that a similar violin had sold in LA for $38,000.00. I checked with the broker and he confirmed it. So I let him sell my violin, and he got $27,000.00

Peter Guarneri, 1721. Advertised as "small violin, no label" my price $450.00, it was identified by 3 different restorers who were familiar with the work. It appraised at $75,000.00, I have dealer who has offered me $25,000 for it but I am going to wait untill the Bonhams auction, when I can fly to England.

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Question: Did you have a pretty good idea from the pictures/description what you were buying, or was it pure good luck? Either way, I'm jealous! Congratulations on your good fortune. It's nice to hear a great success story. I've bought a few from eBay, but haven't found anything exceptional.

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On the Pillements, I knew they were genuine because nobody ever used his lable (he did not have one) and the violins were branded.

On the Derazey, and the Hellmer I got lucky. On the Guarneri I suspected that it was italian because the seller gave me very good pictures and all the measurments. I did not expect it to be valuable at all.

All the other violins were simply stock to sell at a 100% mark-up.

You have to ask lots of questions and ask for additional photo's, otherwise, beware.

Steve

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