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Appraisals

An expert appraisal comprises a thorough written description of the instrument and and evaluation of its value. It may be needed to estimate what an instrument is worth or for insurance purposes. When evaluating an instrument, I consider:

1.  Name and reputation of the maker
2.  Origin — where the item was made (Italy, France, England. etc.)
3.  Age
4.  Condition
5.  Overall Appearance and tone. 

 The Smithsonian Institute recommends that appraisals be performed by members of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers, of which I am a member.

The fee I charge for appraisals is just an hourly rate.  Please call for an appointment.

 

"So you think you have a Strad?" 

I receive serveral inquiries every month from people who have a violin in hand they believe may be an original Stradivarius. Of course I am willing to provide professional appraisal services for any instrument a customer may wish to have evaluated. 

However, this excerpt from an article by Michael Vann of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers may help you understand why such instruments are so common. Read the full article...

Since well before the turn of the twentieth century, manufacturers of violins, often nestled  in the valleys of southern as well as western and eastern Germany, were producing tens of thousands of violins annually, labeled "Antonius Stradiuarius, Cremonenfis Faciebat Anno 17  " and had a circular embellishment on these labels which included a cross above the initials "A" and "S". More often than not, the last two digits of the date were penciled or inked in by hand. Sometimes it was left blank.

These manufacturers, housed in such  towns as "Bubenreuth", "Mittenwald", " Markneukirchen"  to mention a few, mass produced these violins, in part by hand or completely by machine, and, until 1957, labeled them exactly as the master did. After that date, the words "Copy of" were often included on the labels.

They were also made world-wide in such places as Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Japan, England and elsewhere.

Millions of these instruments exist today.

Antonio, along with his sons are believed to have made more than 1,100 instruments during his lifetime of which roughly 512 violins are thought to still remain, depending on who you're asking.

It is also known that many were destroyed either by fire, accident, lost at sea or floods, during the fire-bombing of Dresden, etc., which leaves virtually none unaccounted for.

—Michael Vann


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