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Well, I sold my Guarneri violin at Christie's...

Recommended Posts was lot 245 and sold for $100,000 even --

$124,000 including buyer's net was $89600...they

charged 1.5% for insurance plus $900 for the photography...they

paid 5 weeks after the auction which turned out to be 6 weeks

thanks to "snail mail"...the story of how I acquired it is somewhat

interesting...four years ago I was reading Maine Antique Digest and

spotted a tiny photo of a violin in an ad for Doumouchelle's

auction house in Detroit...normally, I pay little attention to

Duomouchlle's because they usually handle rather low grade

antiquesalthough occasionally they get a worthy estate from a ritzy

suburb north of the any case, under the photo it said

"Andrea Guarneri violin, est. $35000-45000"...curiosity took me to

Duomuchelle'swebsite but the single photo there was very

dark...nevertheless, I was able to make out a gold medallion on the

tailpiece which I knew was Moeinnig's "trademark" I called the

auction house andasked if there was a certificate...and they said

"sure" -- in fact, there are TWO certificates...PLUS an appraisal

done by Moennig 2 years previous in 2001..they faxed me copies and

everything lookedcorrect...they emailed better photos and

everything matched I decided to phone bid...the appraisal

was for $125000 so I decided to set my limit at $60000...I didn't

expect to win but as it turned out I think was in fact the only

bidder...I opened it at $35000...then it went 36, 37, 38, 39,

sold...I doubt it lasted more than 15 seconds...with the premium

the total came to $43000...none of the usual delivery services

would touch it -- they were afraid to go into the part of town

where Duomuchelles was located!! of them referred me to what

I swearwas a Mafia hit man...he said he'd be happy to bring it to

me to bring it to me -- and he guaranteed that "no one was going to

f__k with my fiddle as long as he had it"...needless to say, I

tipped him generously...upon opening the case the first thing I

noticed was Duomuchelle's had left out yet more pertinent

information...they failed to mention it included a bow!...I popped

the bow out and saw it was octagaonal and mounted with rather pale,

worn gold...Ilooked at the stamp and it said "E. Sartory a

Paris"...I don't know for certain that it's real but it certainly

has the best feel of any bow I've ever, overall, I'm

quite happy with the results...although I'm not sure whether I

should have included the appraisal...I wonder if that might have

inhibited bidders from going higher.

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$900 for the photography?  Geez, am I in the wrong racket.

Regardless, that's a great story!

BTW-  From what I've read, Sartory typically put a second

brand (same stamper) under the wrap. Forgers probably wouldn't know

this, or wouldn't bother, so you might want to take a peek.

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That is a great story. You've inspired many to waste countless hours trying to duplicate it! BTW, forgers are quite aware of the second Sartory brand.

$900? I guess when they only make $34,000 on the sale you need to find some way to get a profit on the deal

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I'm interested in the answer to Geigen's question.

Most of us spend our collecting careers trying to find a violin of this caliber. Was this purely a business opportunity for you?

Although this is not a del Gesu, Andrea Guarneri's are still highly desireable and should make more than than you obtained through Tarisio. Was the condition poor?

I think it is reasonable to suppose that anyone wealthy and talented enough to own an AG violin would go the extra mile and accompany it with a genuine Sartory bow so the chances are good that you have the real deal.

Was the case of any interest? (I'm a case freak!).


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Originally posted by:

although I'm not sure whether I

should have included the appraisal...I wonder if that might have

inhibited bidders from going higher.

I know the fiddle, and I think you did rather well on that particular instrument at Christie's (yes, there was an underbidder at Duomuchelle's; Guess who?; I attended in person, but didn't know about the bow either.). You more than made up for the presently devalued US $ (which was a bit stronger 4 years ago) as well as pulling out a pretty good rate of return... and maybe a nice bow to boot (haven't seen it, but if you like playing it, great!).

While it's possible, after the restoration I thought it needed (the size and scope of which is why you weren't the underbidder ), you might have done better with a retail sale... but without the restoration, this (the auction) venue for that particular fiddle was probably appropriate.

In this particular case, the appraisal may actually have been a positive factor rather than and inhibiting one.

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Thank you, Jeffrey, for that bit of context.

It does explain a few things -

still seems those $900 pics are unavailable?

245 A violin, Andrea Guarneri, Cremona,

Circa 1690 60,000-80,000

$ 121,000£ 59,606€ 85,211 European Trade

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