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Violins at auction
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Kevin M.
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January 12, 2012 - 9:46 am
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Last night I went to an auction, where in the past I purchased a few violins, and a G.A. Pfretzschner was being auctioned off.  Sure sounds like a good violin by the name.  It turns out that G.A. Pfretzschner was a bow maker in Germany but had died many years before this violin was made.  The violin was imported through a dealer in, I believe, Chicago.  They had the name put in them to make it seem like a good violin.  After all his bows were considered very good bows.  The problem is these violins are made with no top corner blocks and fake lower corner blocks.  Given the condition of the instrument , which was in good condition with sprayed on finish no cracks just needed string to play, it should have gone no higher than $40.00.  People fell for all the hype and the biddiing went just over $200.00, then add in the buyer's premium and you are at $226.00 for a violin that you could buy set up ready to go with new strings for $60.00.  Know your instrument before bidding.  I wonder if the price is going high because people decorate there houses with them and the expensive designers only look at how it will look hanging on a wall.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 12, 2012 - 2:22 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Great post Kevin. I agree fully with you. By the way, I have a Pfretzschner bow that I love. However, I am playing my CF bow just as often now a days.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 12, 2012 - 3:02 pm
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Kevin M. said

....people decorate there houses with them and the expensive designers only look at how it will look hanging on a wall.

T'fu!! Using instruments as a decor (without playing on them) is a moveton!

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Samuel L Boogie
Oxford England
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January 17, 2012 - 4:25 pm
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Naska are you using naughty words I don't understand? duncecap

Some people have more money than sense!

The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

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Mad_Wed
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Samuel L Boogie said

Naska are you using naughty words I don't understand? duncecap

Some people have more money than sense!

What naughty words ...duncecap decor? duncecap

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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January 18, 2012 - 2:02 pm
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If you are refering to moveton,  it is like saying something is a cardinal sin

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Samuel L Boogie
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Thanks Kevin I have never heard of moveton before where does that come from?

 

What about T'fu ?

The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

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Kevin M.
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December 3, 2012 - 9:35 pm
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Well I was out at another auction tonight and 3 violins went for $125.00 each.  One had a Strad label in it and people thought it was special.  The neck was falling off the finish was gone, the top was all scratched up, the peg box needed to be worked on and new pegs. If all fixed up ready to play you would have a violin worth $125.00.  The next one had been refinished by someone painting it with stain and polyurethane all in one step.  The top and bottom plates were coming off, no label inside, broken tailpiece, and broken pegs. All repaired you had a violin worth $75.00.  Now the last one. A violin with STUDENT branded into the back. It was made in Czechoslovakia, I estimate it from about 1890, it was dirty with old gut strings and a loop end fine tuner and a very tiny chin rest.  The pegs were all good as was the fingerboard.  This violin needed cleaning and strings. After repairs I would value it at $400.00.  The buyer thought the student violin was no good because it said student.  I only wish I was the buyer of the student violin but the bidder took all 3.  Oh well another auction on Wednesday, maybe I'll do better.

Know what you are buying. Unless you are a designer then buy the junk and leave the good to be fixed and played on.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 3, 2012 - 11:16 pm
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I don't understand why the buyer paid $125 for a violin he didn't think was any good. Did he get them all for $375? Maybe he would have accepted a low ball offer on the "student" violin. smile

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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Kevin M. said
A violin with STUDENT branded into the back. It was made in Czechoslovakia, I estimate it from about 1890, it was dirty with old gut strings and a loop end fine tuner and a very tiny chin rest.  The pegs were all good as was the fingerboard.  This violin needed cleaning and strings. After repairs I would value it at $400.00.  The buyer thought the student violin was no good because it said student.  I only wish I was the buyer of the student violin but the bidder took all 3.

 

Thank you for the informative post as it describes my Czech violin purchase except that mine had broken end pin, one broken peg, separated seam at various top and bottom plates, and lots of scratches. I was wonder about its age as its label only said made in Czechoslovakia, Stradivarius copy without any luthier name, which indicates student class/factory made. Its tailgut appears to be old gut though. I gather some information that the country name of Czechoslovakia is only from 1918-1993, so violin with label like that must be made in those years. Could you shed some lights on this, please.

Anyway, I got it for $30.00. After some quick/cheap retouching, superglued top/bottom seams, used peg/endpin, swapping tailpiece/strings from my other violin, it sounds so nice, very sweet/mellow with high string clear/bright. It beats my other violins by far.

Best Regards,

Robert

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Kevin M.
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December 4, 2012 - 8:29 am
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Pierre,

The problem is the buyer had no idea what he was buying.  With all the auction shows on TV The prices for items have gone way over the top. People try to get a violin in hopes it's worth millions. Wednesday I will be going to a different auction where they are selling off 4 violins. In the pictures posted they male note of a bow stamped Germany. People will bid high thinking it's a special bow when it's not.  We'll see on Wednesday. It is being sold with a Rich Kruttner violin. The average selling price for this violin is $175.

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Robert,

 

The violin was probably from the early 1900s then.  The thing is a student viollin back then was a good insttrument, not a VSO, violin shaped object.  Today if you look at a quality violin maker his or her student violins will be excellent violins. The only difference being not using high flamed maple or a top plate not made from 200 year old spruce but still an excellent violin.  It was believed that for a student to learn violin they needed a violin which produced a good sound.

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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December 4, 2012 - 8:49 am
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Kevin,  these auction's you attend, are they musical instrument auction's or like, estate auction's ?       dunno

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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December 4, 2012 - 9:46 am
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They are estate auctions.

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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Kevin M. said 
Robert,

The violin was probably from the early 1900s then.  The thing is a student viollin back then was a good insttrument, not a VSO, violin shaped object.  Today if you look at a quality violin maker his or her student violins will be excellent violins. The only difference being not using high flamed maple or a top plate not made from 200 year old spruce but still an excellent violin.  It was believed that for a student to learn violin they needed a violin which produced a good sound.

Thank you very much, Kevin, that cleared quite a few questions I had. The violin, even in student class, has a fairly good flamed maple back and a Carpathian spruce top though, and it sounds nice even not being in playing in yet due to extensive repairs.

Best regards,

Robert

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ratvn
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Fiddlerman said
By the way, I have a Pfretzschner bow that I love. However, I am playing my CF bow just as often now a days.

Nice to know you have that bow. I went out purchasing a 40+ yrs Pfretzschner violin  because it came with a bow stamped with the same name (did some prior research and saw one of those auctioned for about $800.00, highly sought after for its responsiveness, but I'm not sure).

Mine stamped H R Pfretzschner. Is yours the same as there are several different ones with the same last name?

Best regards,

Robert

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 4, 2012 - 10:10 pm
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Same. Mine was appraised for 2,500 by the professional appraiser that our orchestra hired regularly for insurance appraisals. We didn't have to think of anything in that orchestra. :-)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ratvn
Kent, Washington USA
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Fiddlerman said
Same. Mine was appraised for 2,500 by the professional appraiser that our orchestra hired regularly for insurance appraisals. We didn't have to think of anything in that orchestra. :-)

Thank you, Pierre. You've just made my day. For a while I've told myself that I was kinda dump, buying another violin just because I'd loved to have a good pernambuco bow that came with it, as the violin has caspari pegs (the one with screw at the tuning peg end) with slipping bushings which can't hold tuning/string tension. My local luthiers wanted $200.00-300.00 to repair them (bushing inserts/redrill/reream etc.).

Its owner posted in local CL for asking price of $200.00 for the whole thing (violin, bow and case). I got it for only $150.00 as he saw I spent almost a whole sunday afternoon for round trip. But from what you said it should be worth it. So I am not that dump after all. It makes me feel good....haha.

Thanks again.

Best regards,

Robert

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 5, 2012 - 8:06 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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That cost for fixing the pegs is ridiculous. b-slap They should have suggested you change them to regular wooden pegs instead.
Were the holes too big to just simply install new pegs? Adding wooden bushings would naturally add to the price quite a bit.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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December 5, 2012 - 9:59 am
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Tonights auction they just listed a Jaeger Bass Violin. 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 5, 2012 - 7:36 pm
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Looks nice. How much do you think it will go for?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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