We welcome your inquiries about services or instruments in the shop. Many questions can be answered by reading through our page about General Information and Ordering. If you are in a hurry, it's not a bad idea to phone the shop, since we receive a very large volume of e-mail every day. You may phone us with your questions about instruments in the shop Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 215-545-1000.
We do not provide online appraisals. If you are not in the Philadelphia area or it is inconvenient to schedule an appraisal appointment at the shop, we recommend speaking to your local musical instrument shop to find someone in your area who can help with your appraisal needs. The Strad magazine publishes their directory online. You should be able to use this to locate a violin shop with appraisal services in your area.
Some of the most frequently asked questions we receive:
Q. Do we purchase instruments?
A. Yes. Our web site represents the type and variety of instruments we work with. No modern drums or accordions, no ukelins, but plenty of other fun and fine stuff. If it is something that we are interested in, we will probably ask you for lots of information like measurements, serial numbers, etc. and if we are really, really interested, we would like to see photos.
Q. Can you appraise (or give me a ballpark value for) my instrument over the phone or by email?
A. No. A professional appraisal entails an examination of the instrument since authentication and condition are important factors in the value of the instrument. We are happy to schedule an appointment for a proper appraisal, just call and set it up, and we do charge for appraisals. If you are not in the Philadelphia area, check with shops in your locale for assistance in this matter. FOr general information, you might also consult some of the many good books currently available about musical instruments. A well stocked library or bookstore may be very helpful in this regard.
Q. Is my violin a genuine Stradivari (Amati, Guarneri, Guadagnini, Stainer...)?
A. Unfortunately, if you are not sure, the greatest likelihood is that it is not. Hundreds of thousands of violins were produced in large workshops and factories in Germany, France and Czechoslovakia during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these bear the facsimile labels of such famous makers as Antonius Stradivarius, Joseph Guarnerius, Guadagnini, Maggini, Amati, Bergonzi, Stainer, and others. The facsimile labels denote that the instrument was styled after or inspired by a model made by one of the early makers. These instruments were produced to satisfy the needs of student and amateur musicians for useful and affordable instruments, and sold inexpensively through music shops and catalogs (like Sears and Montgomery Ward). In order to determine whether your violin can be put in good order and be made playable you should make an appointment with a violin shop or luthier in your locale.