String of violins valued in Dublin charity event


DOZENS OF violinists descended on the National Concert Hall in Dublin yesterday to have their instruments, each with their own unique history and story to tell, valued by a member of one of the world’s most famous auction houses.

The charity valuation day held by Sotheby’s focused solely on the violin family of string instruments, attracting a mix of violins, violas, cellos, double basses and bows, many of which were hundreds of years old.

Black violin-shaped silhouettes were dotted around the large waiting room beside their owners, many destined to be sold at auction and others to be treasured for life, depending on their valuation.

Head of musical instruments at Sotheby’s, Tim Ingles, said the most important factor when estimating the value of the stringed instrument was its provenance.

“Nationality is a very big deal for us. All of the great violins were made in Italy,” he said.

“The big question always for this type of thing is – is it Italian? And that makes a huge difference to the value.”

One particular Italian violin captured the attention of Mr Ingles and achieved the highest auction value of the day at €50,000.

Mr Ingles, who specialises in stringed instruments, scanned every inch of the violins’ bodies, taking into account the intricacies of the instrument from the varnish to the label etched inside.

Professional violinist with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra Pamela Ford was left slightly disappointed when her violin, purported to be made in the early 1800s by the influential violin maker Giovanni Battista Ceruti, turned out to have a false label.

She had originally thought the violin was valued at about €28,000 but Mr Ingles was baffled as to where the instrument had originated from.

Ms Ford also brought along her English George Craske violin which was valued at €6,000 and her English Garner Wilson bow which was valued at €2,500.

“The reason I’m here today is because my violin insurers are pressuring me to get a written valuation because I hadn’t had the violins valued for about 20 years,” she said.

Valuations per item were priced at €5 in aid of the Health in Harmony project, which sends musicians to nursing homes and other care settings.