contemporary makers up for auction


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I'm curious how modern makers feel about seeing their instruments go up for auction.

There are two lovely violas in Tarisio, by M. Darnton and W.Whedbee , a few violins (D. Cox) and a Landon cello.

Is this helpful or disappointing? Would one consider bidding on your own instrument to get it off the market and retain some control over the price?

They say any publicity is good, and if I think about it it seems like a nice conundrum to be, but I wonder about the loss of control over your product.

I suppose once they leave the nest, it's out of your hands, but it's still your name and reputation out there.

Just wondering.

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Maybe many contemporary makers are over priced to start with . Not naming any names but ive seen well known contemporary makers instrument going unsold or for up to 10 times less than their retail prices. It tends to look worse when you see it this way.

I mean you have makers coming straight from some violin school and prices for over 5 K GBP ,is their work worth this ?? I doubt it,myself.

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I can’t remember ever seeing a modern instrument in perfect condition going for 10 times less then the maker charges, but maybe I just don’t follow the auctions enough.

Also worth remembering that auction prices will be considerably less then a maker or dealer as auction houses offer far less after sales care (if any) then most decent makers or dealers will.

neil

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Neil,

Ive followed every auction of note and many smaller places for years and it is something ive noticed. I wouldnt say there is that much difference between alot of retail prices and auctions any longer. Auction prices seem to be rising all the time. Far more players are buying there than they used to which is also pushing prices up.

As i said i could name makers but its something i wont do .

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You may well be right, I don’t follow many other then the big London houses…..Do any of the auction houses offer the sort of aftersales care most reputable dealers do?

Certainly the price I have set my work at factors in that initially there may well be a range of small adjustments and changes required, and then I will give free sound adjustment for the first year and very probably any tweaking and small jobs for a lot longer…and then if ever the customer wants to sell the instrument I have built at some stage down the line I will help them if they want by offering it to someone on my waiting list for a very small commission.

neil

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Neil, I agree with aftersale service etc... but when they are sold later by someone else on it often doesnt come into the equation. I also didnt mention anything about perfect condition.

Just an observation ive made over the years.

The latest Tarisio does have a few examples of contemporary makers work,we`ll see what the prices are when its over. Theres also an awful lot of makers around and its only really the top 2% of makers with a high reputation that ive seen bring close to retail or above.

But perhaps you may agree about what i said of newly trained makers overcharging??? I cant believe im the only one who thinks so. :)

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Don’t misunderstand me, I agree there are some modern makers prices I have a hard time understanding the justification for…but I still feel auction prices for contemporary instruments should not be taken too seriously, there have I am sure been many cases of modern instruments selling for considerably less then the makers ask, but there have also been some well publicized cases of modern makers work going for well over the makers asking price….in the end I guess demand levels out price anomalies and consistent resale prices give a clearer idea of the real market value.

neil.

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I've bought violins by known contemporary makers at auction and I think they represent a tremendous value compared to the same instrument new, directly from the maker. However, there are several important sacrifices made by such a buyer. One is the personal relationship with the maker, something that cannot be valued in money. Another is the after-sale care that a maker like Nertz provides, which has significant added value, depending on the maker.

In my own experience, the violins by contemporary makers that I have been able to win at auction, have been wonderful instruments which I considered myself very lucky to have been able to buy for such a steep discount to retail.

Jesse

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I agree aftersales service is a big plus , but it doesnt diictate the market, no-one buys a Strad and expects him to adjust your post!

The only modern makers whos work tends to do extremely well at auctions are makers who are masters at blowing their own trumpets! or their instruments are associated with well known players. Dont get me wrong being a good publicist or saleman is a big plus but not all makers are great at selling and many dread it,which is why they get someone else to deal with it.

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I agree aftersales service is a big plus , but it doesnt diictate the market, no-one buys a Strad and expects him to adjust your post!

But you do expect to have a trial period to determine if it is really your most wanted 'love'.

Not possible in an auction setting.

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I had understood this thread was about contemporary makers so the Strad example seems somewhat irrelevant…all I was trying to point out is that if you buy direct from the maker or through a dealer representing a living maker there is a considerable amount at sale help/adjustment and aftersales care built into the price that to the best of my knowledge auction houses don’t offer….and this difference can account for the “apparent” bargains to be found at auction…also worth pointing out is very often the buyers and sellers commission on auction prices is omitted when quoting a sale price.

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I've bought violins by known contemporary makers at auction and I think they represent a tremendous value compared to the same instrument new, directly from the maker. However, there are several important sacrifices made by such a buyer. One is the personal relationship with the maker, something that cannot be valued in money. Another is the after-sale care that a maker like Nertz provides, which has significant added value, depending on the maker.

In my own experience, the violins by contemporary makers that I have been able to win at auction, have been wonderful instruments which I considered myself very lucky to have been able to buy for such a steep discount to retail.

Jesse

I couldn't agree with you more. I bought a beautiful Bellini at auction a few years ago at half the price he now charges. This is in perfect condition and its sound is incredible, I too am very lucky.

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Neil, ithought it was about prices and a hint of price fixing! But i guess ignore the reference to antique instruments.

Its also been a long done thing to bid up prices of your own work at auction (perhaps a circle of friends) ,to set a presidence for future price reference. Ive heard it done a few times but wont name names. Its often worth it for the cost of the buyers premium etc...

Janito, i only ever buy at auction, so no i dont expect a trial period or aftersales service.

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............Its also been a long done thing to bid up prices of your own work at auction (perhaps a circle of friends) ,to set a presidence for future price reference. Ive heard it done a few times but wont name names. Its often worth it for the cost of the buyers premium etc....

Yes, that’s why I don’t think the occasional auction prices on contemporary work bare much relevance to the real market value of their work…..it’s the regular and consistent resale prices realized privately or through a shop that give a better indication of that actual market value of contemporary work….. and even this has to be looked at over a long period as certain makers can come in and out of “favor” depending on hype or even self promotion.

neil

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Back when I was involved in Tarisio, I found that makers were universally unhappy when their instruments landed in the auction. I recall several conversations with Sam Z prior to the Stern sale...trying to reassure him that his two violins would do ok.

We generally tried to avoid taking contemporary violins because they sold quite poorly and encouraged the owners to take them back to the dealer or maker who originally sold it. The makers certainly appreciated that consideration.

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Back when I was involved in Tarisio, I found that makers were universally unhappy when their instruments landed in the auction.

Well I think I should step in now in this thread with my personal opinion as i see one of my Violins lot no. 309 is on.

Many knows Elmar Oliveira own and play on many contemporary Violins from different makers like Curtin & Alf, Scott Cao, by myself and some more.

Elmar received a another violin from me this summer, so we put this one on auction although we had some privat offers.

I understand a famous owner can help to reach a good price. But for me personal I expect nothing special. What happens......happens.

My basic philosophy as a violinmaker is partely different compare to my colleagues. That is also the reason why i stay complete away from making competitions.

I see this not as a promotion tool or a advertisment, and I feel not sad if it goes under my price or receive no bids. The extimate is fine for me also in the view the violin is just 5 years old but with some wear of use.

I am only a bid dissatisfied with the photos, specifically from the back. I find it really overexposed and shows in my opinion not the original color and look. But i know it could be my Monitor as well.

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To be honest I think £5000 is not unreasonable for a finely crafted hand made new violin.I don't know how much the very finest new instruments cost,but I should think it would be considerably more.I should be interested to know..

As a reality check to get others' opinions, I'm guessing that a violin -- from a well respected professional contemporary maker with a national or an international reputation and who has had such a reputation for a decade or more and is selling many of their instruments to professional players -- would cost in the $20, 000 to $40,000 range, directly from the maker in the USA, today. And there are some makers with really outstanding reputations and long waiting lists who get more than that.

Someone straight out of violin making school has probably made only a couple of violins during their training, and has essentially no reputation. So, pricing far below the range cited above would be appropriate.

I'm not trying to elicit unpublished prices for specific makers by giving the range above, just trying to suggest to players what you might expect if buying from a maker with a well regarded reputation in the USA, today. And my range might be a bad guess.

I would definitely confirm that buying directly from the maker establishes a bond between player and maker which a player will value. An added bonus is that you, as the buyer, will have a fiddle whose provenance is beyond dispute.

Here are some web sites with pricing:

Joseph Curtin, assumed to be current 2012 prices:http://www.josephcur.../READprices.htm

Article of prices in 2010:http://www.violinist...ie/20109/11687/

There's a Tschu Ho Lee in the $20,000 plus section of this link:http://www.semanviol...?search=Chicago

The section for $11,000 to $50,000 has quite a few contemporary violins at Robertson's:http://robertsonviol...iolin-inventory

Here's a Benjamin Ruth at Reuning in the $15,000 to $30,000 range: (Click on fiddles in carousel): http://carriagehouse...violins-15k-30k

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From the feedback I'm getting 25 to 50 K USD seems to be the standard among a maker with a well regarded reputation in the US. 15 to 25 K USD for a well regarded reputation in France (by that I mean some one who won several international price and so on) 10 to 20 K for the same in Italy , I do not have enough feed back for German, Japanese maker, but It looks pretty close to the US prices.

I would argue that price trend of those instrument follow closely the almost exponential price increase of the "historical" top instrument that started about 30 years ago.

it's a bit worrysome , while it make not seems unreasonable that a new violin that sound as good as a 1 million USD should cost a f(x) of that . The reason of the huge price increase of old historical instrument is imho link to the target buyer, witch is no longer musician at core, therefor "equation" should no longer apply for modern pricing.

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The reason of the huge price increase of old historical instrument is imho link to the target buyer, witch is no longer musician at core, therefor "equation" should no longer apply for modern pricing.

While I understand your points, in reality I don't think the link/equation is all significant... I believe most involved understand the differences in the "old" and "new" markets.

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