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How to discern an accurate appraisal?


Abner Hucklebee
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I have a violin that was evaluated by a local dealer.  They said it was an early 20th century Mirecourt.  There is no label and the dealer could not determine the maker.  They said that I should easily be able to sell the violin for $3,500-4000, once it is in working order - needs tail piece, bridge, strings, and set up, and maybe some glueing at top, back, and sides, but no separation was visible to me. I'm not very knowledgeable about violin valuation, but after doing research have become concerned that this violin has very little value. It has a neck graft, with a German scroll to replace the original, the neck is not centered to the body, the back is one piece but has a fairly sizable wing, and there's a sliver of grain missing from the edge of one of the f holes. I realize it's impossible to appraise a violin without seeing it in person, but can anyone comment on how the above listed issues would affect the value of an early 20th century Mirecourt violin by unknown maker? Am I correct in doubting that this violin is worth anything close to $3,500?

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Hard to say without more pics etc.  There have been situations where guys would over-appraise instruments to generate repair business, if that's what you're worried about. Dont see it so much these days. In any case saying any violin would be "easy to sell" is misguided, if the seller has little violin sales experience. Sounds like you should at least show it to another shop.

BTW, how do you know it has a German scroll? Was that something the dealer said?

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Yes, the dealer said the scroll was German.  "easy to sell" was stated in the context of $3,500.00 - $4,000.00 would be a very good price (from a buyer's perspective).  I'll post pictures as soon as I get the violin back.  I do plan to get another opinion - I'd hate to misrepresent the value to anyone. Also, would be happy to find a knowledgeable dealer that was interested in buying it, assuming they would pay me roughly half of the retail value. Thanks so much for your comments, Deans.

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  • 1 month later...

The violin has now been repaired and I picked it up this week. See attached pictures. I'd like to sell this violin if it has any value, but as stated above have concerns due to the listed "quirks". The only label is the repair label from D.B. Rockwell, but the dealer who repaired this for me was confident that the Violin was a Mirecourt, possibly made by Grandjon? The scroll appears to be German, but may have been made by Rockwell. In any case, if the violin has any value, I'd like to sell it to at least get what I put into it. Any comments on the overall condition and possible value would be appreciated. Also, does anyone have recommendations for where to sell this?  In the past, I've listed on Ebay. Would that be appropriate for this one?

Also, I should say, the dealer who I worked with is very well known and established in the area.  I'm not suspecting that he steered me wrong or anything. But after doing a lot of research, I'm still not understanding5.thumb.jpg.af90a6f53a16e9bc87ff7983fca0eced.jpg2.thumb.jpg.78c47b0666794d36444c1a65bf96900b.jpg how this violin is worth more than a few hundred dollars at most, and so don't know how I should properly list it.

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42 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

To me, this violin does not look French at all, and I suspect the head may be original.

As he says. The roughly altered ff possibly should make it look more French, but are in fact a significant devaluation at this sort of late 19th Saxony cottage industry fiddle. So “a few hundreds” in full working order seem to point in the right direction.

Maybe the scroll is a bit later than the body, which possibly had a throughneck at the beginning.

 

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On 9/12/2022 at 12:00 PM, Abner Hucklebee said:

They said that I should easily be able to sell the violin for $3,500-4000, once it is in working order

If you could easily sell this for that amount I believe there are a lot of violin shops that would hire you as their salesman.

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Hah! I agree about some eBay sellers overpricing things. I'm not looking to mislead anyone though.  I actually got this fiddle in a large batch of "violins for parts/repair". I originally contacted this particular dealer to get an evaluation on a Silvestre & Maucotel bow that was somehow in the batch of violins. He asked me to bring in anything else from that batch of instruments that looked promising, which is where he identified this violin as Mirecourt and suggested that I would be able to get $3,500.00 to $4,000.00 if it were repaired. He didn't seem at all interested in selling this one. We sent to bow out to Isaac Salchow for evaluation. It turned out to be made by Pfretzchner for Silvestre & Maucotel.  The dealer sold the bow on consignment, and I netted $3,000.00, so considering what I paid for the batch of violins, I made out just fine.  He didn't seem at all interested in selling the fiddle though. It sounds like the consensus of this forum though is that this is not Mirecourt. Important to me because I want to label it accurately. I'm thinking of taking it to Ifshin to get their opinion, but kinda feel foolish if I'm bringing in a piece of junk for them to look at.

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The attribution of Grandjon seems ludicrous.
It seems that perhaps your local dealer is basing their prices on it being a) French, and b) from Grandjon's workshop Unfortunately, as neither is the case, it's looking more realistic to remove a 0 from the pricing.
The date of around 1900 I would agree with.

Hopefully it sounds well, and there is no reason it shouldn't. This should help it find a new home, where it will get used.

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