Instrument & Bow Appraisals

The Sullivan approach to appraisals is built on a deep appreciation for quality instruments and backed by literary research and a network of renowned instrument-making professionals.

Thorough & Conscientious

The Sullivan approach to instrument and bow appraisal is centered around our luthiers’ abundant experience and years of dedication to perfecting their craft. We don’t approach a new instrument with a checklist of boxes to tick – instead, we let deep expertise, reverence, and respect for the instrument guide our in-depth evaluation. Paired with our extensive library on violin family instrument makers and our 30+ years of experience, we will do everything we can to identify the origin and maker of your instrument.

Our Unique Approach to the Appraisal Process

The Sullivan approach to violin appraisals is all about research, refinement, and referral. Not only do we draw upon the knowledge of our experts, but we also consult years of historical instrument-making publications and databases as well as reach out to other experienced craftsmen in our network. Learn more about how we approach an instrument or bow appraisal.

Knowledge

Consult Existing Bodies of Knowledge

Sullivan Violin’s greatest asset while performing an appraisal is the deep expertise that comes from our Master Luthier, Ken Sullivan. His years of training and experience working with finely-crafted instruments and bows has provided him with insurmountable knowledge about specific tells of various craftsmen and other bespoke details from workshops around the world. It is at this stage that we are able to begin hypothesizing about the instrument or bows’ origin.

Publications

Confirm Assumptions With Historical Publications

After spending time with the instrument and performing initial research, we then turn to our on-site library of historical and current craftsmanship publications. From European workshops to antique makers, we have an unmatched library of rare and vintage publications detailing specific make and model features. Based on the information found in our library, we are able to further refine our appraisal of your instrument’s origins.

Databases

Refine Appraisal With Industry Databases

Once we’ve turned the literal pages in our on-site library, we turn to our digital research repository to further inform our appraisal. We have unfettered access to industry databases which provide us vital details about your instrument or bow. Both our physical and digital libraries are quite extensive, even compared to other craftsmen in the industry, and we’re proud to be able to pass this knowledge along to our customers.

Networking

Confer With Our Network About Findings

Ken Sullivan’s longevity and renown in the industry has allowed him to build a large network of nationally and internationally admired expert craftsmen and instrument makers. These relationships serve as a sounding board for appraisals, allowing for external validation and certification of our findings. Only after moving through the entire appraisal process will we be able to confidently answer the question of the instrument or bows’ provenance.

Sell Your Instrument on Consignment

We purchase and take on consignment instruments from other luthiers and craftsmen. We’d love to set up an appointment with you to evaluate yours and offer you an honest, fair price for possible purchase or consignment.

At present, we are not accepting student-level instruments.

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Getting Started With Your Appraisal

Sullivan Violins is happy to offer verbal appraisal and repair estimates free of charge. However, it is important to note that in order to validate our findings and get an accurate appraisal, we do need to have your instrument physically in our presence.

We highly encourage you to use our bonded and insured shipping program to send your instrument to us so you can rest assured that it is handled carefully and safely. Our goal is to protect and preserve your instrument along every step of its journey, and we believe that begins the moment it leaves your front door.

Certificating Appraised Instruments

If you need a formal certificate of valuation of your instrument for insurance purposes, we are happy to provide you with a documented appraisal.

Sullivan Purchases
Insurance certificates are provided free of charge with instrument or bow purchases over $2,500.

Other String Instruments
For instruments or bows purchased elsewhere, there is a charge of $150 for a formal insurance certificate.

Contact Us For Your Instrument or Bow Appraisal