The Myths and Mysteries of Violin Pricing

Part Three of Seven

by James W Robinson

Remember,  the quality of sound in an instrument is largely subjective and is always dependent upon its set-up/condition, strings used, and most of all, the player. Sometimes, instruments made by contemporary makers or older instruments where there is no auction price history, are priced by this method. Contemporary makers sometimes enter into competitions with their peers at violin-making conventions. These competitions are judged by peers who have been successful in similar competitions, and always include musicians who play the instruments anonymously to form an opinion about their acoustical qualities. Instruments are entered into these competitions in an attempt, if successful, to justify a maker’s premium pricing practices. If the prices an instrument maker is asking for their instrument sounds high but there is a documentary history of similar prices being realized, through a number of sales transactions, establishing a price trend, it is not premium pricing but rather competition-based pricing method that is being used.

(copyright James W Robinson)