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$1,500 Varnish Job on Top Only


ymkim
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Hi everyone,



 



I have an old violin that I am thinking about
selling (maybe Tarisio?).



Recently I have shown her to two
luthiers.  Both of them are well-respected and very
qualified.  Here’s the problem:



 



Luthier A: recommends a varnish job (top only)
and estimates around $1,500 to do it.



 



Luthier B: recommends selling it as it is.



 



I have no clue which one I should follow, as I
have never sold a violin before.



Any suggestions?



It is labelled "Albert Caressa, Paris,
1897."





Many thanks!



 



ym

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I bought an inexpensive old German violin. The violin has not been played for at

least 50 years. The varnish looked terrible, one part shinny , other parts looked

dull and rough. (with rosin dust acculumated at top). I brought it to my local luthier

and asked her to clean it up and "polish it". It costed me $30. (They know how to

deal with this kind of problem). The most

worthwhile $30 I have ever spent on a violin. She made it look kind uniform.

I am very happy with it.

Don't spend too much on your violin especially at time you want to selll it. You may

not recover your cost of "improvement". Let the buyer do the "improvement"

PS. After all this the violin may be worth $500-$600 (not much different in value). You know what I mean.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
ymkim

Jeffrey,

Who is Jason Price?

ym


The person who you'll be speaking to when you submit an instrument to Tarisio.

BTW; Am I missing something? I read that one of the luthiers you visited recommended a "varnish job", but I hadn't seen the words "revarnish the top" in your post... but others here are speaking about revarnishing?? Did the luthier intend to attend to what's there or replace what's there?

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Jeffrey,

My understanding was "revarnishing the top." Does this mean replacing what's there? His rationale was revarnishing would significantly increase her value. But not knowing much about this business, I was in shock to find out the cost: $1,500.

I have a couple more questions:

1) As I said, I have no experience of selling a violin. Somebody mentioned about Tarisio might be good because they charge less consignment fees than Skinner's, etc... Is this true? Given what I have, is there any other way (i.e., more effective) of selling it? I've been raising money to get Steinway M. grand piano. This will help, I hope!

1) One luthier told me that the violin was made by Albert Caressa when he was studying under Gustav Bernardel and Eugene Gand. Caressa took over Bernardel's firm in 1901 and hired Henri Francais as an associate. He told me there have been a few Caressa (as well as Caressa & Francais) violins sold in the auctions. He thought this particular violin could attract more attention from the collectors because most auctioned Caressa violins were dated between 1920 to 1930. Indeed, I checked Skinner, Phillips, and Sotherby's records and found those violins were dated in that time period. Do you see this a fair statement?

Many many thanks to all of you!

ym

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Hi Ymkim,

Sorry, I had no idea your violin is a vintage. So, my advice was entirely inappropriated.

PS. By the way, a brand new Steinway grand is very expensive. How much is it?

My daughter was looking for a Steiway last month but ended up a non-Steinway.

She did not tell me how much.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
ymkim

My understanding was "revarnishing the top." Does this mean replacing what's there? His rationale was revarnishing would significantly increase her value. But not knowing much about this business, I was in shock to find out the cost: $1,500.

Yes, revarnishing would replace what is there presently. If it was indeed revarnishing, I agree with Michael. Especially if the varnish on the top is original, I would not suggest revarnishing it. Anyway, I can't see that revarnishing any part of a violin would increase it's value... maybe visual appeal to the masses (depending on the job), but not value.

quote:


1) As I said, I have no experience of selling a violin. Somebody mentioned about Tarisio might be good because they charge less consignment fees than Skinner's, etc... Is this true? Given what I have, is there any other way (i.e., more effective) of selling it? I've been raising money to get Steinway M. grand piano. This will help, I hope!
[/img]

The full answer might take more time than I have, but the short answer is; Different auction houses do well with different kinds of instruments... and yes, Tarisio has a lower buyers and sellers commision than most... and has a good record of selling items at a pretty good price.

quote:


1) One luthier told me that the violin was made by Albert Caressa when he was studying under Gustav Bernardel and Eugene Gand. Caressa took over Bernardel's firm in 1901 and hired Henri Francais as an associate. He told me there have been a few Caressa (as well as Caressa & Francais) violins sold in the auctions. He thought this particular violin could attract more attention from the collectors because most auctioned Caressa violins were dated between 1920 to 1930. Indeed, I checked Skinner, Phillips, and Sotherby's records and found those violins were dated in that time period. Do you see this a fair statement?

I see this fiddle more as something a dealer of player might want... but I suppose there are collectors that might be interested. If there were a serious collector interested in it, and the varnish on the top is original, I would think they'd rather obtain it as it is...

Yes, there are ways to improve the look of the varnish on the top... but if it is a Caressa, I'd be careful in the way it's approached. I've found that particular varnish a bit tricky to work with (it can react strangely in the presence of solvents).

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I still think this varnish on the top is not original or maybe its been messed with before,perhaps by something that has reacted with the varnish.

Id expect to see some` laddering`of the varnish on the back as well if its all the same varnish,particularly as the varnish looks quite thickly applied.

I agree though that its best to leave it alone or retouch it somewhat,but not totally refinish it.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
yuen

PS. By the way, a brand new Steinway grand is very expensive. How much is it?

My daughter was looking for a Steiway last month but ended up a non-Steinway.

She did not tell me how much.

About 8 years ago my wife and I bought a four-year old Steinway M for $16,000. It is still indistinguishable from new and has a great action and terrific tone, very nice, even among Steinways.

We found a couple in the process of divorcing who was getting rid of their jointly owned property.

Look for a motivated seller. There are probably some affluent folks whose kids have gone off to college or who are downsizing into a smaller home.

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Originally posted by: Michael Darnton

"Ain't tellin'. It's one of those things you DEFINITELY don't do at

home, and I don't want anyone even thinking about it. When it

works, though, it's like a miracle."


Let me ask this differently. If i have the instrument and the

original varnish that was used. Can i fill in the cracks higher.

let dry then rub down to a flush finish?

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Thank you Finprof,

You are very lucky. My daughter bought a Kawai (about your Steinway's cost)

She can not afford a Steinway.

Return to the varnish job. A good restoration will make a lot of difference for a vintage

violin. It is worthwhile because the value is there. A good luthier can do almost anything.

If your violin is run over by a truck. they can retore it. Amazing. I am not kidding.

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You could, but that seems like a lot of work.

quote:


Originally posted by:
izzy


Originally posted by:
Michael Darnton

"Ain't tellin'. It's one of those things you DEFINITELY don't do at

home, and I don't want anyone even thinking about it. When it

works, though, it's like a miracle."


Let me ask this differently. If i have the instrument and the

original varnish that was used. Can i fill in the cracks higher.

let dry then rub down to a flush finish?</p>

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Michael Darnton

Ain't tellin'. It's one of those things you DEFINITELY don't do at home, and I don't want anyone even thinking about it. When it works, though, it's like a miracle.


... and if it goes wrong, you have the potential to blow yourself up and burn down your shop!

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