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#655480 - 04/04/02 01:17 PM Violin prices
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
We pianophiles are whining about the the prices of Bosies or Faziolis. What about violinists? The following article would be of some interest to us pianists. We should consider ourselves lucky that at least most of us can afford a decent instrument. The orchestra mentioned is New Jersey Symphony...


Music-Violin Deal

The Associated Press
4/3/02 6:39 PM

Herbert Axelrod, a well-known collector and philanthropist, and his wife,
Evelyn Miller Axelrod, have offered to outfit the 15-person first violin section
from their collection of 43 rare string instruments. The collection includes
17th century Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesu violins, which can cost as
much as $6 million each.

The couple also would like to sell the orchestra a Stradivarius cello for use
by the principal cellist, and some lesser-valued antiques -- in the $250,000
to $1 million price range -- for use by the orchestra's second violin section.

If the sale goes through, the orchestra would be the only ensemble in the
country with that large an inventory of Strads and Guarneris.

"Our musicians are drooling over this," Dr. Victor Parsonnet, longtime
chairman of the orchestra's board, said in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.

But he admits the pressure is on to raise the money.

"We can't lose on this, we have to do this," Parsonnet told The
Star-Ledger of Newark for Wednesday's editions. "But there's no way we
have $25 million lying around in our pocket."

Axelrod, who lives in Deal, already has contributed $1 million to the
orchestra's endowment fund. The founder of Neptune-based TFH
Publications and Axelrod Realty in Allenhurst, he holds several patents
relating to pet care and has written books on tropical fish.

He's eager to sell his prize musical collection so that his wife of 46 years
won't have to after his death.

"I'm 75, and a couple friends of mine went through horrible experiences
when a lawyer has to get rid of violins and the wife knows nothing," he
said. "I don't want my wife in that position."

The Axelrods hope the orchestra can find one or more investors who would
buy the instruments and grant it exclusive use for 10 years, giving the
orchestra enough time to raise the money to buy the instruments outright
-- for the same $25 million price -- in 2012.

"I go to concerts once or twice a week. I want the pleasure of going to a
concert and hearing my fiddles, and I'd rather enjoy the experience while
I'm alive," Axelrod said.

He also hopes the instruments will help the orchestra attract a high-profile
successor to music director Zdenek Macal, who's leaving in May to
become the chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

#655481 - 04/04/02 05:52 PM Re: Violin prices
Bill G. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 171
Loc: New York

Your right. A good piano costs about $50-75 per lb. A good fiddle is probably around $30,000 per lb. \:D

#655482 - 04/05/02 08:07 AM Re: Violin prices
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado

Thanks for a good laugh!

#655483 - 04/05/02 11:15 AM Re: Violin prices
Bill G. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 171
Loc: New York

A couple of years ago I inherited four violins. I don’t play, and at the time knew very little about the violin market. What I learned in the process of having them appraised was interesting. First of all, there is the question of authentication. Maker’s labels are almost always inaccurate or missing, so you have to rely on an “expert” to determine origin. Since it is basically a collectors market, tone and condition don’t seem as important as maker. I was told that dealers determine market value based on collector demand, and that players have little influence on the market. In fact I read somewhere that the most valuable Strad (worth over 25million) sits in a vault in Oxford and besides being “mint”, the reason for its astronomical price tag is that it’s never been played in a performance. It all just makes me glad that I chose the piano.


#655484 - 04/05/02 12:36 PM Re: Violin prices
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Yes Bill G,

With all your money you can afford any violin in the world or rather, ALL 635 existing Strads in the world today. Just kidding about your name.

Anyway, years back when I read in an article mentioning that Gil Shaham plays a 1699 Strad it stated that currently there're 635 Strads throughout the world. Just wonder how and where this info can ever be attained...

#655485 - 04/09/02 02:39 PM Re: Violin prices
MichaelP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 69
Loc: San Diego
Let me add a violinist's perspective to this discussion.

First, while it is true that the very finest Stradivari, Guarneri, et al., instruments are among the finest ever made, I would bet a substantial sum that many of the instruments in the Axelrod collection are quite mediocre as musical instruments: clapped out, if they were ever any good, or never all that red hot to begin with.

Second, most well-established, well-known contemporary makers charge $20K or less for their instruments, and wonderful instruments are being made these days. Add another $5K (or less) for a top-notch contemporary bow, made by a master bow-maker, and you are suited up and ready to rock and roll.

I concede, however, that on a per-pound basis, violins still cost more than even Boesendoerfers. On the other hand, I defy anyone to tuck even the smallest Boesendoerfer under his or her chin.


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