French Violin, ca. 1880

Value (2016) | $25,000 Retail
Watch  

GUEST:
I went to college in 1968, and my instructor told me that I needed a better violin than the one I had, and we paid $600 for it, which was a lot of money back then.

APPRAISER:
In 1968, you're right, $600 was a lot of money. What did you understand the violin to be when you bought it?

GUEST:
Well, we were told it was an original instrument.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
The label inside, of course, didn't mean a lot to me, but we were told it was at that point about 100 years old.

APPRAISER:
Well, the label on the inside says "JB Vuillaume, Paris 1861," and it has a signature on it. Your understanding was that it was an original what the label says, a JB Vuillaume.

GUEST:
Correct.

APPRAISER:
Has anybody ever contradicted that?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
All right, all right. Well, I'm a big fan of the work of JB Vuillaume. He started work in Paris about 1820, he died in 1875, and he was a really prolific maker. What's interesting to me is that the signature is on the label, but it's not written on the inside of the instrument, so it contradicts anything that Vuillaume was known to do. And in 1861, he didn't put his date on the label; all he did was number them, and we know that certain numbers correspond to certain dates. So the label made me very concerned. But I kept looking at your violin, and it's a really beautiful French violin. Do you have a sense of what it should be worth?

GUEST:
I have no earthly idea. It could be worth anything as far as I know from $10 to $100.

APPRAISER:
Well, I looked at the craftsmanship and the things that I noticed were how beautiful the purfling goes into the corners, the absolute fine, fine craftsmanship. So I thought, "This is somebody who knew what they were doing."

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The conclusion that I came to is that indeed this is a French violin, and the date on the label is not far off, but I would put it more after the death of JB Vuillaume, around 1880. And there were some workers that worked for Vuillaume who continued working, and one of them was Derazey. Now, I can't 100% say that this is a Derazey, but it is of the quality of the work of Derazey.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And I would value this violin in the retail market today at $25,000.

GUEST:
Oh wow, that's great! That is great. It's wonderful.

APPRAISER:
So I think you picked out a beautiful violin.

GUEST:
Thank you!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Claire Givens Violins, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN
Appraised value (2016)
$25,000 Retail
Event
Fort Worth, TX (July 23, 2016)
January 09, 2017: Wondering what a real J.B. Vuillaume violin is worth? Appraiser Claire Givens tells us that one in good condition from 1861 could be worth approximately $200,000 in a retail market today.
 

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