Sign in to follow this  
Pho6

What is the "True" value of your instrument?

Recommended Posts

There is a fabulous Johann Georg Thir in the Kunsthistorische Museum, which I would find almost priceless, and would definatly be cheap at 30.000. The worn out one on your web site was quite a different kettle of fish and obviously wouldn't be worth a fraction of that.

Re.Fuchs Taxe, It's only 6 weeks untill Christmas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fear that purchase of the Fuchs-Taxe will corrupt me! I might start thinking that if a pristine Johann Georg Thir was worth £30,000, then one with a couple of neat belly cracks and a pegbox repair might be worth say half that.

In fact I think it was worth a fraction of that, the fraction being a quarter :)

But if you insist, I will get my own copy.

To move the debate on to something else, how much should the sound quality of a particular instrument or bow affect one's pricing? Maybe that's a different thread?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

martin, in all fairness, i think you should limit your comments to "my online business compared to expensive established shops" as opposed to "online ebay business compared to established shops", where obviously the established shops have a big advantage

just because youre an ebay dealer and want to drum up business, doesnt mean you need to defend ebay in general to prove your point, because basically theres no way to defend ebay in general as a good place for a violinist to purchase a violin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To move the debate on to something else, how much should the sound quality of a particular instrument or bow affect one's pricing? Maybe that's a different thread?

I encourage a different thread if you wish to broach that subject...

Before doing so, you may want to search the forums for threads pertaining to sound and valuation. Just to prepare yourself. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

martin, in all fairness, i think you should limit your comments to "my online business compared to expensive established shops" as opposed to "online ebay business compared to established shops", where obviously the established shops have a big advantage

just because youre an ebay dealer and want to drum up business, doesnt mean you need to defend ebay in general to prove your point, because basically theres no way to defend ebay in general as a good place for a violinist to purchase a violin

You don't seem to have much idea of my business!

I haven't mentioned Ebay once and wouldn't discuss it in the context of this thread. It accounts for well under 10% of our sales and is a world of its own, as you so rightly point out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

youve made tonnes of pro ebay statements on this forum, martin, are you going to flip flop on this like mitt romney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to defend Ebay from sweeping generalizations but it's not what this thread is about and has nothing to do with retail pricing.

There's a discussion about Ebay on Caspace's Roth thread ....

As far as this thread is concerned, I think it's probably time to bow out, since we've got into a situation where my expressing an opinion is seen as "promoting my business"!

I still want to know what the Fuchs-Taxe says about Johann Georg Thir - can't wait till Christmas. If it says £30,000 I will accept that I may have been barking up the wrong tree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are barking up the wrong tree Martin. This is a discussion Forum, not a place to promote ones own business. Should the Moderator let you get away with it, it would be good maners to refrain from generally rubbishing "UK shops", since it doesn't neccesarily reflect well on your own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jacob, you have slightly misunderstood something I said and taken it personally - you have pushed me to defend that imagined attack on you and now you tell me I'm promoting my business.

To over-simplify this debate -

Jacob - "you're not in the trade unless you're VAT registered"

Martin - "I'm VAT registered"

Jacob - "now you're using Maestronet to show off"

Lyndon - "you're just some petty Ebay dealer what do you know?"

Martin - "a tiny minority of our business is on Ebay"

Lyndon - "now you're just promoting your business"

It's a bit circular isn't it! Strains of Samuel Beckett ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

now youre really sounding like mitt, martin, i did not make those statements, who the hell are you quoteing, youre imagination???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, please.

Envision an angler, sitting on a bank on a fine afternoon for fishing: overcast, breezy. Delicately trolling his lure, trying, without exertion, to interest a fish into biting a lure.

Envision a rug merchant, sitting in his shop, brewing up a pot of tea and chatting up a customer, while an assitant brings forth the woven splendor of the shop, one after another. The potential customer indicates, willy-nilly, his preferences and desires; a canny merchant picks up these signs and delicately encourages a level of cupidity to rise within the bosom of the customer. The customer himself is moved by the beauty and rarity of what he sees, and hopes that his knowledge of the specimen in question exceeds that of the merchant. A dance ensues, with offer and counter-offer, gambits are played: no, alas, it is far above my simple means, or perhaps I have no wish to deny you, but my family will starve, and so on into the afternoon, with both parties being vastly entertained, and the full gamut of emotions are run: fear of loss, cupidity, perception of beauty, need, foolhardiness.

How can you even consider a true value? The very concept is alien to the essential transaction. Value must be created, teased out of the respective needs and desires of the participants. This is one of the most amusing and rewarding pastimes available to mankind, and plays out in nearly every culture, and has done so in some fashion since the dawn of recorded time.

It's one of the sad things in late Western culture, to quantify everything, to know the price of everything, the value of nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob, that's a really thoughtful and well-written post, but to me, the scenario doesn't end up sounding much better than a barroom sex hustle.

I'll continue to strive, and will encourage others to strive for something better than temporary emotional manipulation games (the dance?) to make a sale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love reading this thread, absolutely fascinating.

Question for the high-end dealers: Do potential customers really try to haggle over your prices and how do you tend to respond to that kind of bargaining? Has your attitude changed during the current economic crisis?

Maybe it is a British "not the done thing" thing, but I know I'd have felt very uncomfortable haggling over my Cuypers when I bought it. Precisely because one knows by going into a good shop that of course a dealer is charging a retail price for all the reasons listed above and additionally one is getting/trusting the knowledge of that person rather than jumping into a potential snake-pit at auction. Surely that's not a naive view to take???

Edited to say that my Cuypers is priceless to me and that is what matters. :wub:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love reading this thread, absolutely fascinating.

Question for the high-end dealers: Do potential customers really try to haggle over your prices and how do you tend to respond to that kind of bargaining? Has your attitude changed during the current economic crisis?

Edited to say that my Cuypers is priceless to me and that is what matters. :wub:

Honestly, in dealing with old instruments, offers and counter offers are not unusual anywhere or confined to only one segment of the market (retail, wholesale, etc.), but I do believe the amount of haggling that occurs depends in great part on the specific dealers (pricing) policies, and the markets in which they are active. The second of of these two factors often has bearing on the first... Some cultures are much more prone to haggling, and high end dealing is an international activity.

BTW: Some of the most active haggling I've been engaged with on the supply side has been with British wholesalers.

Glad you love your Cuypers. There is more than one instrument by that maker I've kicked myself for not keeping. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, David.

My post was more focused toward the marketplace, especially the one catering to what you might term "antique".

Certainly an artisan is fully entitled to name his price, and stick to it. But once an item enters the stream of commerce, it's a whole new game.

I have fond memories of a cabinetmaker friend, who did wonderful work and loved his craft, but was always on the edge of starvation because his market was too narrow to support the true value of his efforts. (There it is again, that pesky True Value).

Those who decline to haggle will ever be eaten alive in the marketplace. Doesn't matter really, if you can afford it, but one misses out on so much fun. I have a friend who is into book collecting - I led him down that primrose path years ago - who thinks noting of dropping five figure sums on dealer who are able to provide him with such things as the complete works of Patrick O'Brien, in signed first editions. OK, but I enjoy the chase, and derive much satisfaction from scoring a book at 1% of its upmarket value. (Not that it happens all that often, but it's not unknown). I also love the company of Asian and Armenian rug dealers. I have no doubt I've been cleaned out professionally at times, but it's almost worth it, just for the experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nowadays I favour Tarisio as a pricing guide. It's an internationally accessible database with a photo archive - the prices are set by a very broad mix of largely private buyers, also very international. If a sale price is within nodding distance of what something would cost to buy from Tarisio I wouldn't find it objectionable. Without prejudice :rolleyes:

Martin, you don't price your violins parallel with the auction houses, do you? There is no comparison with what you offer (I am assuming), and the auction houses. You inspect the instrument (far more carefully than an auction), set it up, fix any "time bombs"!,allow players to try the instruments for extended periods(in realation to playing at auctions of which you are very familiar with), support beyond the sale. All that is worth alot more than Tarisio's prices(with the exception of certain high bids), even if your not a brick and mortar shop. Maybe I misunderstood and you using it as a "relative" pricing guage, adding your value proportionately. I do agree with Jacob about the prices being all over the place in auctions, but you know this better than most as you attend them and see them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martin, you don't price your violins parallel with the auction houses, do you? There is no comparison with what you offer (I am assuming), and the auction houses. You inspect the instrument (far more carefully than an auction), set it up, fix any "time bombs"!,allow players to try the instruments for extended periods(in realation to playing at auctions of which you are very familiar with), support beyond the sale. All that is worth alot more than Tarisio's prices(with the exception of certain high bids), even if your not a brick and mortar shop. Maybe I misunderstood and you using it as a "relative" pricing guage, adding your value proportionately. I do agree with Jacob about the prices being all over the place in auctions, but you know this better than most as you attend them and see them.

Dear Jeff,

It’s always very comforting, if unusual, to read that someone agrees with me. In this case, I feel bound to return the compliment, and agree in my turn with you!

On the few occasions that I have bought items from T., (assuming one felt able to substantiate their attribution) there was, apart from the purchase price, the (20%?) commission, plus (exorbitant) shipping charges, then 20% input VAT to pay upon arrival in Austria. Then, all of these instruments required fairly major (i.e. expensive) restoration. Quite how a violin shop should work, if the “real value†were deemed to be the Tarisio sales price, escapes me. Even if one only had an online-dealership, that just took the instrument out of the box and marketed it “as isâ€, one would be working at a considerable loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also love the company of Asian and Armenian rug dealers. I have no doubt I've been cleaned out professionally at times, but it's almost worth it, just for the experience.

Your remark about rugs inspired me to have a look around on the internet, it does seem to be an interesting little world. Can you recommend any websites that provide reliable (ish) and interesting info about rugs? I'm thinking I might start a small collection of inexpensive rugs, the roughly made "tribal" and "village" ones appeal to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am pretty familiar with the internet rug world. The situation with rug dealers is not unlike the violin world; there are some really honest dealers and a few nearly criminal ones. There is a small pool of the high-quality dealers who deal in real antiques and a vast number of dealers who sell recent/modern rugs, but unlike violins, modern rugs are really not anything like the quality of the antiques. The difference in rugs is that the whole thing was turned on its head with the onslaught of European imperialism, so that there is a dramatic shift in quality around 1890-1920, accompanied by the introduction of chemical dyes in the late nineteenth century. Especially with the tribal/nomadic rugs (my interest), the entire lifestyle/tradition of the various people who made them was for the most part wiped out. It's over.

There are several websites devoted to the good stuff. I would recommend www.rugrabbit.com and if you are looking for information, try www.turkotek.com which has a bunch of current forums that are interesting (and some that are less interesting) and an outstanding archive of forums worth exploring. I have been able to find some extraordinary rugs on eBay for not much money, but I advise you not to try shopping there until you really know your stuff, because there are usually around 45K items in "antiques--rugs and carpets" and only about 200 items worth looking at. As with violins, many of these will be at or above retail price.

I feel extremely lucky that I was able to buy my c.1800 Saxon violin at a somewhat out-of-the-way venue (Skinners "Discovery" auction) and somehow it turned out to be a wonderful-sounding instrument for a $500 total investment (including setup). Its "true value"? I don't know...when Jacob Saunders looked at photos of it here, he didn't seem too impressed. Maybe to a dealer this thing is really worth $500. Or less. It doesn't really matter to me, since I haven't touched anything that sounds like it that didn't cost thousands. For me, I guess true value would be what it would cost to get something like this sound in a 200-year-old violin (with a lot of repairs...). I'm thinking I'd have to pay a lot more than $500. It seems to me that the monetary value of a great sound is much less than the value of the quality/maker of the object itself, but for a musician those values are reversed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know...when Jacob Saunders looked at photos of it here, he didn't seem too impressed. Maybe to a dealer this thing is really worth $500. Or less. It doesn't really matter to me,

Dear Paul,

I think it had rather less to do with me being impressed with your fiddle or not, and more to do with what it is, i.e. a late 19th. C Schönbach "Dutzendware", and not a Strnad. Should you ever visit Vienna, you should please feel welcome to drop in and cast your critical eye over my carpets! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the few occasions that I have bought items from T., (assuming one felt able to substantiate their attribution) there was, apart from the purchase price, the (20%?) commission, plus (exorbitant) shipping charges, then 20% input VAT to pay upon arrival in Austria. Then, all of these instruments required fairly major (i.e. expensive) restoration. Quite how a violin shop should work, if the “real value†were deemed to be the Tarisio sales price, escapes me. Even if one only had an online-dealership, that just took the instrument out of the box and marketed it “as isâ€, one would be working at a considerable loss.

I feel duty bound to speak up for Tarisio - I'm sure Jason would like to chip in, but he would probably be barked at by the maestronet dogs of war and accused of promoting his business!

Tarisio has two types of sales, the regular sales and the "speculative and restorable" sales. I don't know what the terms and conditions are for "speculative and restorable" but I assume they are pretty much caveat emptor. Certainly one would expect the instruments to be speculative and in need of restoration, suitable mainly for professionals who are good at judging violins from photos, or who go to see the instruments.

In the regular sales, you can request (and receive by immediate return of email) a condition report. In my experience these are exhaustive and accurate. A very serious attempt is made to attribute correctly, and everything can be had with a Reuning certificate for an additional fee. If a buyer disputes an attribution within a give time frame, the instrument is taken back without quibble.

Jacob mentions VAT. If you are VAT registered then you can reclaim import duty, so this is just a cash flow issue. It's nothing to do with Tarisio and is not relevant to the question of pricing.

The quip about online dealerships which just take an instrument out of one box and put it in another is a bit snide, and of course doesn't take into account the vast range of people who now deal online, many of whom sell instruments set up to a high standard, many of whom also have shops etc .....

However, having just been to the London Tarisio sale (not S&R) my impression is that these sales only contain instruments in excellent condition, almost all with professional set-ups. That's kind of the point of these sales, and the fact is that you could have taken 90% of these instruments out of the box and put them in your sales cabinet.

Attributions - so far I have only witnessed disagreements about issues of biography or nationality, not challenges about who actually made something.

Shipping charges - are they exorbitant? Can't comment.

Jeff W, I will have to read the thread again, but I didn't say I used Tarisio as an index for retail pricing. I would certainly take their prices into account when thinking about what to charge for something, but only if I'd seen the instrument, and only as part of a general thought process. In the regular sales it seems to me that they offer a huge amount of security for the buyer, and for this reason they often obtain prices that approach retail. These prices are of course misinterpreted by the trade as regular auction room prices, and are used to hike retail prices up another notch. I think Emile Francois Ouchard is a good example of this trend.

Jeff, I have re-read it .... yes, I look at Tarisio prices (for instruments I've seen) as a relative pricing gague. Auction results as a whole are pretty useless unless you've seen the instruments and come to your own conclusions about condition and authenticity. Sound, as Jeffrey has hinted, is a whole other thing, and has very little to do with auction results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.