Violas are time machines. Thanks to their sophisticated design, they can withstand the passing of years or even centuries – some of these instruments were made five centuries ago, and back then their production was massive. This explains why these instruments can often be found in collections, family legacies or antique places. But where do these violas come from? Are they in top condition? What is their real worth? Only a viola expert opinion can answer these questions.
What is an expert opinion?
According to your instrument and what you want to know about it, there are different types of opinions to seek. For instance:
- Appraisal of the age, origin, or label of your viola: what you think about when seeking an expert opinion. You want to get an authenticity certificate to prove the worth of an object and gather all the evidence in order to sell it. Literally anyone could grant you such evidence, however only a handful of experts are reliable enough to offer a proper certificate. Since you do not want to waste money on a useless appraisal, you have to choose carefully the expert you want to consult, depending on their knowledge, for example (some are specialised in a geographic area, others in a time period, or in a style).
- Appraisal of your viola’s condition: this appraisal usually comes along with a quote since it is an actual MOT of your viola. The whole instrument is thoroughly inspected to find out what types of restoration can be done or how a specific sound can be achieved. These assessments provide great evidence to sustain the first type of appraisal I’ve mentioned above.
- Second opinion: it’s a proof-checking process. Though it takes place after you already got an appraisal, having the advice of a third party can help you make your decision. Though it takes place after you already got an appraisal, having the advice of a third party can help you make your decision.
It is hard to assess how much a viola is worth. There is a lot of criteria on the market, and meeting all of them is fairly difficult:
- The period: the older the violin is, the rarer and more expensive it is.
- The geographic area: the worth of an Italian violin is always greater, and so is that of any other European violin making country.
- As well as the label: each artist has its own price, so you must know by whom your violin has been made
- And the condition of the instrument: even if they have been fixed, some damages are more severe than others.
Giving all these aspects, you understand why assessing an exact worth is not that simple. It is normal that you may be offered very different prices.
What reduces a viola’s worth
To ensure the worth of your antique viola, it is important to keep him as safe as possible:
- Keep your violin in a clean and dry area. Do not expose it to light or drastic changes of humidity and temperature. Housing your violin in its case is the best option, and if you do not have one, you should pack him as snugly as possible.
- Do not clean it with anything else than a duster so as to preserve its authenticity.
- As much as possible, do not change its origin pieces.
- If your violin has no strings, remove the tailpiece so as to prevent it from rubbing against the varnish.
Looking for more tips? I can give my opinion and my price for your instrument.
You can contact me via the form at the bottom of the page.
Sell a viola
If you have an antique viola, it is most likely worth something. It might not be that expensive – dozens of euros or so, maybe. That, or the potential of your instrument has yet to be discovered.
In any case, an antique viola can be an interesting piece to have in a violin workshop. Which is why if you want to get rid of yours, I can buy it.
An expert opinion on your viola at a violin workshop
As a professional violin maker, I will be glad to give all the advice you need. I want to help you feel confident in your decision. Whatever your project for your viola is, I offer:
- My opinion before you purchase
- My opinion before you sell
- Advice and help to make your decision
- Second opinion
Who can give an opinion on your violin?
There is no rule about antique viola appraisal. Hence you can find a lot of experts by browsing on the web. However only a handful of them are actually qualified to deliver you an authentic certificate attesting the worth of your instrument.
Be careful: do not lose your time and money in a useless appraisal.
Who should you ask?
- Well-established violin makers specialised in the type of instrument you have
- Auctioneers specialised in bow stringed instruments
Note that an appraisal is a long process that cannot be done remotely. Sending pictures of your instrument will only grant you a limited and uncertified opinion. To get a serious appraisal, you must be ready to pack your bags and fly overseas.
Help you during your appraisal
A few clicks and subscriptions to “expert clubs” online speak for themselves – finding the best expert for your instrument is no easy feat.
This is why I offer my help during the whole procedure. Together, we will find an authentic certificate matching the story of your instrument, without losing our mind, time, and money.