Services : Appraisals

House of Musical Traditions provides musical instrument appraisal services. There are different situations you may want an appraisal for. Please read below for more information.

Verbal Appraisals

If your aim is to sell your instrument and you would like to explore doing this through HMT, we will provide information to you as part of our evaluation process for sale, trade, and/or consignment. See consignment page for further information.

Sometimes we receive inquiries from people who are just curious as to what their instrument might be worth. We generally cannot respond accurately to these inquiries, but you can usually get a rough idea by looking at eBay, and other web sites. 

Written Appraisals

Most commonly, these are provided for the purposes of insuring your instrument with your insurance company. In many cases, your instruments may not be covered under a standard homeowner's or renter's policy. If you are a professional musician and/or own valuable instruments, it is a good idea to get a "rider" on your policy so your instruments will be covered in case of loss, damage or theft. Your insurance company will want a document from a qualified appraiser (such as HMT) for each item you want to insure.

Our fee for written appraisals is $50 (in some cases when written by one of our luthiers as part of a specialized restoration process, the fee may be higher). We may be able to offer a discount if you want multiple items appraised. If the same instrument can be purchased new at the present time, we will state the "replacement value" based off of the average selling price for this item new. If you have a vintage or unique item which cannot be replaced, the appraised value will be based on its present condition and what similar items have sold for on today's market.

In most situations, we require that you bring the instrument to our store for a written appraisal. The process takes a few days so that the appropriate person(s) (sometimes including a repairperson) can evaluate the instrument. In some cases, we may be able to provide an appraisal based off of digital photos, if you are not local to us and cannot get the instrument to our store. Please contact us if this is the case and we will let you know if we can perform the appraisal "remotely" (most violins, for instance, must be seen in person to be appraised).

Sometimes people may want an appraisal on an instrument of considerable value to show potential buyers when it is offered for sale. Keep in mind that a written appraisal is not necessarily a suggestion or guarantee of what price the instrument could or should sell for. It is designed to protect the owner financially in the case of loss or damage.

If you had an instrument damaged by a shipping/moving company or airline, you may need to provide an appraisal document to be compensated for repairs or replacement. We can also provide this service. In most cases, the shipper or airline will want a repair estimate outlined, and/or replacement value if repair is not feasible.

A written appraisal can be provided as a paper document and/or a digital file.

Looking to sell your instrument? Click here for info on sale, trade & consignment at HMT.