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I find the choice of a Dutch auction for the photographs interesting. Even more interesting is the starting price of $500,000.

I'm not exactly sure who will be interested in purchasing this lot. The media technology is relatively obsolete and many of the attributions will likely be viewed as questionable by today’s leading experts. Will a shop want them for reference material? I doubt it. Perhaps someone will put together a Moennig collection photo book, but it seems highly unlikely to me. I’m very perplexed.

I’m probably way off, but I'm guessing that the winning bid will come in at $6250. That comes out to be around $1.25 per instrument photographed.

Any other guesses?

http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_i...cpid=2500673536

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  • 2 weeks later...
I’m probably way off, but I'm guessing that the winning bid will come in at $6250. That comes out to be around $1.25 per instrument photographed.

csid=2197389312&cpid=2500673536"]http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_i...cpid=2500673536[/url]

"Nearly all include four standard reference shots: top, back, head from the bass side and f-hole detail."

So, you think 30 cents a print is what the lot will bring? I think you're on the low side. Just the cost of printing from negs would arguably bring the value to 50K or so. Hope you're right though. I'd buy 'em for your figure in a heartbeat. :)

The limited number of Hill photos sold publicly brought quite a bit at auction in the 90's, BTW. I'm sure Tarisio is hoping for a repeat.

BTW: I have a drawer of the type you mentioned... doesn't mean what's in it is exactly worthless. The documents may be "incorrect", but that's not the instrument's fault.

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I would enjoy learning how $90,000 of value can come from these photos -- reference material, book publishing material or just as a Moennig collectible? I wonder what the buyer has in mind?

:) I bet much of the potential value can be deduced in a few quiet minutes of contemplation... but I believe there were notes with the some of the photos that might make things even more interesting to an enterprising owner. I did not buy them, so I guess they hadn't hit my cost/benefit threshold, however I was watching.

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I would enjoy learning how $90,000 of value can come from these photos -- reference material, book publishing material or just as a Moennig collectible? I wonder what the buyer has in mind?

A long-time violin dealer told me yesterday that the Hill archives sold for a considerably higher price than this sale, but they included the names of the instrument owners. Therefore the buyer of the Hill archives could have used this information to track down the owners and possibly make some advantageous purchases. Since the Moennig photographs do not appear to include owners' names, this would not be a factor here.

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I recently checked out the collection of items donated by Jacques Francais to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The donation included quite a few violin photos, all black and white and none with much detail (ie, closeups or multiple shots). I'm sure they served as useful memory joggers to Mr. Francais, but I think anyone else would do much better to buy one of the several very good books on rare violins. It sounds like the Moennig photo archives were similar, but of much much greater volume.

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I recently checked out the collection of items donated by Jacques Francais to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The donation included quite a few violin photos, all black and white and none with much detail (ie, closeups or multiple shots). I'm sure they served as useful memory joggers to Mr. Francais, but I think anyone else would do much better to buy one of the several very good books on rare violins. It sounds like the Moennig photo archives were similar, but of much much greater volume.

I was thinking the same thing -- a person could spend $30K and buy a collection of the finest photo reference books available for violins and bows. At the same time, I have to respect someone willing to put out $90K for photos, and I have to assume that they know something that I don’t.

I'm getting the feeling that the notes accompanying the photos may be associated with the high price, as Jeffrey had commented. I wonder if they do include the names of the instrument owners.

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