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Looking for more options to finally sell antique violin


Paulmon07
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Hi Everyone,

I was gifted an antique Johannes Cuypers violin some years ago that has been up for sale until now in a dealer's shop after being fully restored by them. The thing is its had little to no interest that I know of and its starting to feel like a waste, as I'd like to finally cash in and use the money for something. From what I've already seen briefly on some forums, having it with a respected dealer seems to be the best choice, but its hard to feel the same way after so many years of inactivity. I'm not blaming the dealers of course but I have no way of knowing either what's really being done to help market this and push a sale through, and whether its even in a realistic price range. I have also tried to reach out to the likes of Sotherby's & Christie's to generate some interest, but didn't get a reply from either

Appreciate what advice you might have in an effort to finally move this piece

Thanks

Paul

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Hi Paul,

I can't comment on the dealer situation, but assuming that it is a genuine Cuypers and you want to sell it quickly at auction then you should contact some violin/ musical instrument specialist auctions.

Tarisio https://tarisio.com/

Ingles and Hayday https://ingleshayday.com/

Bromptons https://www.bromptons.co/

Amati https://amati.com/

Did you pay the shop for the restoration or are they looking to get the money back via the sale?

Regards,

Shelbow

 

 

 

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Hi @Shelbow

We agreed the restoration fee would be paid after sale. The amount isn't huge so that can always be settled if I needed to take the violin away. They're also insuring it of course, so something else I need to bear in mind

I did actually send an email to Ingles and Hayday earlier today, so appreciate the other contacts. I'll give them a try also

Thanks again

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16 minutes ago, Paulmon07 said:

Hi @Shelbow

We agreed the restoration fee would be paid after sale. The amount isn't huge so that can always be settled if I needed to take the violin away. They're also insuring it of course, so something else I need to bear in mind

I did actually send an email to Ingles and Hayday earlier today, so appreciate the other contacts. I'll give them a try also

Thanks again

OK so you might just have to bear in mind that you would have to pay this fee, insurance and possibly some other charges relating to them having held it for you before they let you take it away.

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Every option has its pluses and minuses. I think you found some of the downside with consignments. It can take time to sell instruments retail, some shops might not work a consignment as hard as their own stock. And not all dealers are equal in their ability to move expensive instruments.

Auctions have been doing much better lately in terms of prices. I would think a Cuypers would do well if its right. As Joris mentioned some instruments do better in different locations, online auctions reach everyone.

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Auctions can be a good option for sexy named violins where there's a buzz and there's short supply (Poggi, Fiorini, that kind of thing). If you're lucky you can get 2 players or collectors who will pay above retail, particularly if the instrument is mint and has a great sound.

But a Cuypers in top condition might make £40k with the wind behind it - which is £32k on the hammer and about £28k to the seller in the best case. This for a violin which might retail at £75k ...

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3 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Auctions can be a good option for sexy named violins where there's a buzz and there's short supply (Poggi, Fiorini, that kind of thing). If you're lucky you can get 2 players or collectors who will pay above retail, particularly if the instrument is mint and has a great sound.

But a Cuypers in top condition might make £40k with the wind behind it - which is £32k on the hammer and about £28k to the seller in the best case. This for a violin which might retail at £75k ...

What's the average commision from retail, 20-30%? Just curious.

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Haha, that's a question and a half.

We charge 20%, irrespective of value. I get the sense that some consignors think this is quite expensive but we don't just hang the item on a nail and forget about it. We only take really clean and usable items and we tend to charge quite high prices ... we also tend to sell things if they fit that description. 

One of the problems about commission sales is that if the seller doesn't advertise their prices, you don't really know what their commission rate is. I can understand that some owners would rather sell at auction because it appears to offer greater transparency.

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Thanks Martin I appreciate the information. This is inline with what I thought. I think 20% is reasonable, but I understand why this is a concern for some.

Depending on the auction house (or your relationship with them) you might have to pay 10-20% sellers commission anyway, so people should also bear this in mind as you have said.

I also agree with yourself and deans that certain instruments have the potential to really blow up at auction under the right circumstances. I guess people need to make the decision based on the circumstances. The lure of quick cash from an auction is tempting for many.

 

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2 hours ago, Shelbow said:

Thanks Martin I appreciate the information. This is inline with what I thought. I think 20% is reasonable, but I understand why this is a concern for some.

Depending on the auction house (or your relationship with them) you might have to pay 10-20% sellers commission anyway, so people should also bear this in mind as you have said.

 

And never forget that the buyer's premium is a part of the total cost of the item.  

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1 hour ago, Three13 said:

And never forget that the buyer's premium is a part of the total cost of the item.  

To be clear, if you look at an auction result of £40,000, the auction house is often taking a commission of 35% on that. 

Hammer £32k plus 20% buyer's premium and 20% VAT on the premium gives a final recorded price of almost £40k. £32k minus seller's premium of 15%= £27,200k. So that's what the seller receives.

Unless a seller has a very hot item or is desperate for ready cash, it seems more sensible to sell on consignment at £75k at a commission of 20% and receive £60k.

 

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42 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Unless a seller has a very hot item or is desperate for ready cash, it seems more sensible to sell on consignment at £75k at a commission of 20% and receive £60k.

Cant argue with these numbers. And I wont argue with selling on consignment, it often works out well. But the whole point of the OPs post is that he's failed at this so far.  A different dealer in a different location might have better luck. But it sounds like the OP is placing a value on time, so it better be quick. 

 

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Hi All,

Thanks for all the feedback. Limited by my replies so will try and answer all together here

Hi @JorisThe dealer is in London (where I'm originally from) however I currently live in Slovakia. If you know anyone in NL that might be interested, please let me know. I will have a search in the meantime online

Hi @martin swan It is a Johannes yes, and 1773 they say. Here is the actual link to the dealer's site. Unfortunately, its little hit & miss at the moment as they're apparently updating their website, so it only seems to work for people with a UK IP address. They are working to resolve this

https://bridgewoodandneitzert.london/product/violin-by-johannes-theodorus-cuypers-the-hague-1773/

As said, appreciate all the comments. I am of course looking to sell it sooner rather than later but with what some auctions are already quoting it seems like just too big of a drop to go that route. The reserve quoted for the piece is much significantly less, then add on top of that their commission and insurance. The other thing I've found out today is that there isn't any original paperwork with it, which may point towards one of the main reasons its failed to sell to until now. I'm being advised to maybe try a dendrochronological test. Would be interested to hear thoughts on that?

Appreciate any further ideas and words of wisdom. I'll mull this all over in the meantime and see what options are available maybe through other dealers

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