Violin Appraisal is a learned skill that takes a good eye and lots of practice. For a long time there has never been a licensing committee for violin appraisal, it was taught through experience. It is an old art form that has been shrouded in mystery for many centuries. The advent of the internet has shed some light onto the mysterious world of violins and their value, among other details.
For example, at the high end of the appraisal spectrum, we have appraisers such as Rebecca Apodaca who wrote the first test for a qualified appraiser by the standards set by the IRS with the ability to write legal documents for Insurance Replacement Coverage and Tax Donation purposes. She is mainly used for appraisals that require an expert witness in a court of law, specific to estate ownership issues and divorce settlements. The research and documentation alone for each case is hours upon hours of work.
At the low end of the spectrum, we have counterfeit violins, which has been a scam in the violin world since people realized their worth. It is unfortunate that it happens, but it does. Even a finely made instrument may be a counterfeit with a fake tag or a tag that was taken off of a real maker's instrument. Or the Frankenstein instruments that were put together using parts of the real ones. Or scuffed up to make look older. There are stories of violin makers and violin shops coercing to certify that their violins are more valuable than they really are. There are numerous stories of people being taken because they did not know what they had.
Honorable work ethic will go far in the violin world as well as any. Honest service will lead to repeat business, strong word of mouth advertising and continued success. This is the vision of Mr Violin.
Mr Violin's Appraisal Background
Adam Ainsworth has been playing violins since 1988. He has worked in the local music store scene; selling violins, other instruments and their accessories; since 2003. He has been appraising violins professionally since 2007. He has been learning violin appraisal skills from some of the best, and most long lived, in the business. He has also studied engineering principles of how fine instruments work, why they work and what makes them a fine instrument. Adam has successfully appraised instruments up to $35,000 and has examined and played on instruments worth over $350,000. Including a Stradivari from 1711 worth $5 Million. Adam's time behind the counter has allowed him to handle and examine instruments from all over the world, some dating back to the early 1600's and one from the late 1500's!
Adam Ainsworth has successfully appraised several hundred instruments over his entire career; mainly violins, violas, celli, bass, and their bows. He has personally written dozens of accepted insurance replacement valuations. He understands the violin markets of sale, retail and auction pricing. He can tell you what it is, the approximate age and make, the quality level, what are the bad repairs, what are the good repairs, what repairs are needed and how much they will cost.
Mr Violin's Appraisal Services
Online Photo Appraisal: The online photo appraisal is an easy-to-use service. It can give you piece of mind of what you have, if it warrants a closer inspection or if you are looking for recommendations about what to do with your instrument.
Send in your instrument photos and bow photos for an Approval to: Adam@MrViolinSD.com
Approval may take up to 5-10 business days, or sooner!
If approved, a link will be sent with pricing
Find out the results! Usually in 1-2 business days!
Premium Services In-Person Consultations and Other Options: The photos you send in should show if the instrument warrants an in-person consultation.
In-person consultations are usually reserved for instruments that are worth over $1000 and the owner is looking to have any of the following: piece of mind, sell value, market value, retail value, auction value, repair estimates, questions answered, possible make and story, and other recommendations.
An instrument that is valued at more than $35,000 may be referred to a certification specialist, with the closest being in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, certification is not regulated. It is based on the experience of the luthier. Certification is a 10-20% fee of the market retail value of the instrument and only recommended for the most valuable of instruments. Mr Violin does notperform certifications.
Research, seller or consignment services are available on a case by case basis.