Violin Identification      and Written Appraisals            Our appraisals are accepted by all Insurance companies.
Stephen Derek examines an
18th century  Italian cello..
Should this happen to your fine violin, viola or cello, you can
protect yourself from loss by asking us for a written appraisal
of your instrument that you can present to your insurance
If you need an insurance carrier that specializes in musical
instruments we can refer you to one.
Do not hesitate to ask us for a verbal appraisal of your
Violin and Cello Identifications & Appraisal Service

Whether you need an insurance appraisal on your instrument
or an identification of it’s origin and current value, consult
with Stephen Derek, Professional Violin and Bow maker with
30 years of experience

To identify the origins of a violin one has to understand the
various methods of construction  used by makers in different
countries, in different periods of time.   Even though the early
makers had set the patterns and standards for the construction
of the violin there has been a new generation of growth, greater
awareness and expansion of methods, as well as new dimensions
in  Scientific methods such as Forensics,  Ultra Viololet Light
Spectrums and  Dendrochronology.

Having made a few violins I can understand the subtle reason
for changes in my sound holes, my archings and even my varnish
composition. Time is the perfect test of  varnish and how it has
dried over the years.  Forensic testing can establish the basic
character of varnish.  Ultra violet light has been used to determine
if there have been repairs and nev varnish added. or if there is
artificial aging or  forgeries of labels.

Also the developement of Dendrochronology, a method to
determine the age of the top of violins and it's possible maker.
Do you have an old  violin that
needs an  APPRAISAL for
Internal workmanship details is an important factor in
the identification  process of an instrument. The style
of corner blocks can reveal various schools of making.
The kind of wood used for the corner blocks and the
kind  of lining wood, the way the linings are let into
the corner blocks is another identifying feature.

With Stradivari compass marks inside the sound holes
is very revealing. Guadagnini used compass marks to
set the profile of his scroll. Also the kind of wood
used in the making of the external purfling can be  
helpful to identifying the origin of a violin
  Understanding  the methods,
and styles of various makers
     With inflation and
    market demands your
   violin  has most likely
    risen in value and is
   probably under insured.
     Call for an estimate.

 Details of
Once the origin, the maker and the condition of the Violin or bow has been established then a search is  
made to establish the current retail or replacement value of each item. "Appraisal" is a term associated     
with only the "value" of the violin or bow. A "Certificate" is  the document that determines the orign        
and maker of the violin or bow. These are two separate documents in the appraisal process.
The Appraisal vs. the  Certificate
        What is the retail
     or replacement value
         of  your bow?
Is this a "copy" or an  original?