QUOTE(violinlove @ Jan 21 2012, 03:15 PM)
QUOTE(Claudia's Mum @ Jan 21 2012, 11:06 AM)
What other things should one look out for?
I may be a bit of a romantic - see my username - but I would say a violin that fills your daughter's heart with joy. A violin that she loves and that she loves to play.
Plus of course the other sensible factors that you mention in your post and the issue of cracks.
As far as country of origin goes, some people can be very snobbish about German violins but I have a gorgeous German violin with an amazing sound and he wasn't horrendously expensive. So I would say country of origin is less important.
Mine's a German workshop violin, thoroughly unfashionable, but lovely to play. I've not encountered any violin under five figures which I'd swap it for!
Antique violins are priced as antiques, not as music instruments. Pure market economics: the value depends on scarcity and on demand, and there's more demand for Italian instruments, followed by French ones. Exquisite workmanship bumps up the price, even if it's on something like the scroll, which has no impact on the sound at all.
At the other end of the spectrum, one former pupil of mine tried numerous antique instrument and ended up buying a modern Chinese instrument - not a factory product, but completely handmade. Someone unnamed, somewhere in China, had learnt how to do it properly and had acquired the right tools and materials, and a shop I know well had bought it through Hong Kong contacts. For little more than a top-of-the-range Stentor, she got a beautiful instrument (in looks and in sound) on which she sailed through Grade 8 and is now preparing diploma repertoire...