Catalog Practice

Updated November 18, 2020

Estimate Prices

The estimates published in Tarisio’s catalogs have been determined by Tarisio’s specialists and are based upon authorship, condition, quality of example, rarity, and provenance. Estimates are intended to reflect past auction prices and current market trends.

As a courtesy to bidders, currency conversions are provided in the online catalog. These estimates are for approximation purposes only, however, and all bids, consignor reserves, invoicing, and payments will be conducted in US Dollars for New York sales, Pounds Sterling for London sales and Euros for Berlin sales.

Catalog Descriptions 

Lots are cataloged according to the following terms:

  • Fine: of exceptional materials and/or workmanship
  • Important: of historically significant provenance or authorship
  • Rare: a work of high quality that is unique or unusual or difficult to find
  • Interesting: a work that invites speculation but lacks a definite attribution
  • Contemporary: by a living maker or believed to be less than 30 years old

Attributions and Authorship

Authorship is described in the following ways:

  • By Antonio Stradivari: The authors of this catalog believe in their best judgment that this work was made by this maker and guarantee it to be so. For further information on this guarantee, please see our Terms of Use.
  • Attributed to Antonio Stradivari: A work believed to be by this maker by popular consensus or past opinion, but not by the authors of this catalog.
  • Ascribed to Antonio Stradivari: A work believed to be by this maker in the opinion of the authors of the accompanying certificates or letters, but not by the authors of this catalog.
  • Composite: An instrument where the front and back are not made by the same maker. In this case our attribution is to the more important, and in most cases the earlier, component.
  • Probably (or possibly) by Antonio Stradivari: A work about which there is divided opinion.
  • Under the direction of Antonio Stradivari: A work executed under the guidance of and with the direct involvement of this maker.
  • Workshop of Antonio Stradivari: A work executed in the style of this maker, most probably under his supervision and with his involvement.
  • Circle of: A work believed to be by someone associated with the maker, working under his direct or indirect influence.
  • School of Antonio Stradivari: The work of a follower of the maker or region stated.
  • Labeled (or stamped, branded) Antonio Stradivari: An instrument not necessarily the work of the maker stated but labeled or branded as such.

Condition Reports

Prospective buyers are encouraged to thoroughly inspect lots in which they are interested at Tarisio’s pre-sale viewings. Tarisio provides written condition reports for most instruments and bows and will deliver them by email, fax or in person, but not verbally or otherwise. Tarisio’s condition reports are prepared as accurately and comprehensively as possible; however, in no way do they express or imply warranties of any kind on the part of Tarisio or its specialists.

Attributions of Nationality and Country of Origin

In the description of most lots Tarisio will attribute a country of origin such as “A French violin bow by Eugene Sartory” or “An Italian violin, school of Francesco Goffriller.” These indications are intended as a guide as to the school of making from which the lot originates but, unlike authorship (see above), country of origin is not guaranteed in any way.

Certificates, Letters and other Documents

If a lot is to be sold with certificates of authenticity, letters, or other documents, this is noted in the catalog description before the estimate amounts. When a lot indicates “sold with a certificate to be issued by…” the named expert has examined the lot and will issue a certificate at no charge to the successful bidder. When it is noted “certificate available from…” this indicates that a certificate of authenticity can be purchased for a certain fee to be arranged directly with the named expert.

Certificates by Tarisio’s Expert and Director, Jason Price will be available free of charge for all instruments sold at auction described as “by” a maker which are not composite and have a low estimate greater than $20,000 (£15,000 for London sales and €15,000 for Berlin sales).

Endangered Species Material

Bows which contain elephant ivory or tortoiseshell frogs will be noted at such, with a link to our posted endangered species policies. If you plan to bid on these lots, please read the policy for more information or contact us with questions at