Selling at auction

With auctions almost every month, Amati is well-placed to help you sell your instrument.

At Amati, we make selling your violin, viola, cello or bow as easy and pleasant as possible. From initial valuation to receiving payment, our team is here to help you.

We start by valuing your stringed instrument and bow in accordance with current market trends. This is often an exciting moment, or it can be slightly disappointing. Whichever it is, Amati will do their best to achieve the best possible price for you.

Step 1: Valuation

The first step is to find out how much your stringed instrument or bow is worth and, where possible, establish who made it.

You could have your instrument valued online with Amati’s simple online valuation service. Our specialists will look carefully at the images you submit and give you an estimate of the sort of price you might expect your instrument to achieve at auction. They may ask you for a little more information before they give an estimate.


Alternatively, Amati hold free, no obligation, valuation days for violins, violas, cellos and bows. Our Valuations page will help you find the nearest valuation day near you, and we encourage you to make an appointment.


During your appointment, or in your online valuation, our specialists will be able to advise what the current market value is for your instrument. They will give you a price range in which they believe your instrument will be sold. A high percentage of instruments will be sold within that range; a few exceed it, and a few do not. You should always be aware that your instrument may make only the lower end of the estimate range.

Our specialists will also recommend which auction will be the most appropriate for the sale of your instrument. If your instrument is consigned to a Specialist Auction, you and the specialist will agree a reserve price, under which your instrument will not be sold.

Step 2: Research

Sometimes instruments and bows require closer inspection in order to establish who made it and its potential value.

With your agreement, our specialists will run the process which will include archive research, consultancy and, where necessary, dendrochronology. When the research has been completed, you may wish to sell your instrument with Amati or request that it is returned.

Step 3: Consignment

If you decide to sell your instrument, the next step is to complete a consignment form. The consignment form is a written record of the agreed estimates, the reserve (if you and the specialist choose to set one) and the costs of sale, which include our standard seller’s fee.

Amati offers an optional Loss & Damage Liability warranty at a charge of 1.5% +VAT of the hammer price. You may not need this if your instrument is already covered by your household or specific musical instrument insurance. If you do choose to use our insurance cover, then that cost will also be deducted from the hammer price.

Our specialists and office staff are always happy to answer any questions you have about the auction process.

If you consign your instrument on a Valuation day, Amati’s specialists are equipped to carry your instrument safely back to the UK offices.

Amati can also accept instruments by post or courier. If you are concerned about your instrument’s safe carriage, we recommend you use an Amati Box, which is a bespoke cardboard box designed and tested for the safe and cost-effective shipping of instruments. Amati can also arrange shipping from your home to their offices.


Step 4: The Auction

Back in Amati’s UK offices, we will describe and photograph your instrument in preparation for the auction catalogue. We are the only stringed instrument auctioneers who use 360° photography, which gives our buyers a clear view of the quality of your instrument.

The auction catalogue is published online and is, in effect, a sophisticated online auction platform. It is available to view as a live auction for ten days before the auction end date. As with most online auctions, the majority of the bidding activity takes place in the final moments of the auction.

Step 5: After The Auction

You will receive an email a few days after the auction informing you if your instrument was sold or unsold. If it sold, we will request payment information. Payment is sent by bank transfer 35 days after the auction date. We can also issue a Sterling cheque to UK clients, if that if your preference.

If your instrument did not sell, we will recommend new, usually slightly lower estimates and a new auction date. However, Amati has an excellent sales rate, with many of our auctions achieving 90% sales.

If your instrument did not sell in the auction itself, it is very likely to be sold in the Aftersales, where our strong personal sales and networking skills come into play. Instruments consigned to an Amati Affordable Auction have a reserve price of £10. Your instrument will be sold for whatever price the market decides it is worth. If your instrument is consigned to an Amati Specialist Auction, you and the specialist will have set a reserve price, under which the instrument will not be sold without your specific agreement. We aim, throughout the auction process, to achieve a fair price for the instruments that we sell.

Why Should I Sell My Violin at Auction?

If you sell with Amati, there is a very good chance that your violin will sell. We usually achieve an 80% sale rate (or more) for our Fine Stringed Instrument Auctions, and we have a 100% sale rate for our Amati Affordable Auctions.

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What happens at a Valuation Day?

The specialists at Amati have spent years travelling around the world looking at violins, viola and cellos. The discovery of a beautiful instrument is always a special event.

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Find a valuation day near you

You will always be welcome at an Amati Valuation Day, whether you are thinking of selling or just curious about the origins of your violin, viola, cello or bow. Come and talk to one of our specialists for free.

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Find out more

Where Can I Get a Violin Valuation?

Amati offer free, no obligation, auction valuations of violins, violas, cellos, and bows.

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Try Amati’s free online valuation service.

Finding out the origin and value of your instrument is interesting

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Read our reviews

James Buchanan was a super nice guy with tons of information at his fingertips. He was efficient and helpful, as well as professional and friendly! It was a pleasure meeting up with him!

Just to say thank you to Simon for giving me a valuation on my 2 violins yesterday in Newcastle. His advice was very informative & it was a pleasure to meet him.

Thank you very much for your part in arranging our instrument valuation with Simon in Colchester yesterday. The experience greatly exceeded our expectations in the level of individual attention we received and care that he took over explaining the finer details. It was a very enjoyable and enlightening session; please pass on our thanks to him again, Best wishes, Elaine Henson and Stephen Mitchell

I would like to thank you and your colleagues for the highly efficient way you have dealt with this sale and for keeping me so well informed from start to conclusion of the sale.

I had a very positive experience with Amati who valued my two violins. The administration was very efficient and the location very convenient. I know very little about violins in general but the valuation session with Simon Howes was extremely interesting and informative. The arrangement was offered that I could contact Amati again if I wanted to auction my violins and I would certainly not hesitate to do so.

I sold a violin last year through Amati and they recently had my bow valued for free. Oswald, James, Sarah and Charlott are all incredibly helpful, polite, efficient and competent! I most recently spoke to James and he honestly couldn’t have been more helpful and insightful. I’m far from being an expert so it was extremely reassuring when the time was taken to provide me with all the information I could need. Oswald was similarly brilliant last year. As for the auction last year, it went well too and I was happy with the outcome. My thanks to the whole team. Amati is thoroughly recommended!

Payment received thank you very much, and thank you for your excellent service.

I was impressed with your complete service from my initial email and phone call to the fund transfer and everything in between

Many thanks for selling our late father’s violins for us. You did a great job!

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you. We are very pleased with what our violins have achieved and we’re happy that they are going to good homes where they are appreciated and played.

I look forward to receipt of the amount realised, after deduction for commission due to Amati. In the meantime, I would like to thank you and your colleagues for the highly efficient way you have dealt with this sale and for keeping me so well informed from start to conclusion of the sale.

From the first time we met in the valuation of Gothenburg has been a simple and pleasant dialogue on the sale of our items. Many thanks for your help!

It’s hard not to be pleased. Straight, clear information and regular updates. I give Charlott and James at Amati honours and my warmest recommendations.

Thank you also for your many phone calls and updates by email. This was a new experience for me, and my contact with Amati to date has been enjoyable and stress free.

Thank you for your email with the news about the sale of the Paul Bailly violin. It seems quite a good result and I am very pleased with the outcome.

Many thanks again to you and your colleagues, especially Oswald for the work undertaken to achieve a very good outcome in the sale of my violin and bow.

Wow, well done! Simply amazing, never thought that would happen.

I took my violin and a couple of bows to be valued at The Amati Exhibition at The Langham. The service was absolutely excellent. I was also shown the collection of instruments being auctioned and James Buchanan and his colleagues imparted so much knowledge and were really helpful and very friendly. Highly recommended!

From the moment the experts of Amati picked up my violin, they knew they were holding something special. They were utterly professional and caring with the way they proceeded to get the instrument valued and sold. My sentimental attachment to the instrument was taken into consideration and at no time was any pressure put on me to part with my instrument. I found to be first and foremost concerned with the client interests before that of the business. Thank you to for making the whole process from valuation to auction a personal caring and sharing experience.

Thank you Amati for doing such a great job of selling my mother’s cello and 2 bows. You sold the instruments quickly and were professional and courteous at all times. I would recommend Amati to anyone looking to sell a string instrument.

From the moment of coming into contact with Amati, ending with sale of the cello, it proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable and professional experience. Everyone was exceedingly helpful and it was a delight to do business with them. My very best wishes and thanks.

Thank you for everyone involved at Amati for a highly professional approach. It has been highly appreciated.

Just a quick note to say thank you for the excellent service your company offered in selling our violins. The whole process was smooth and professional from the initial estimate, which correctly managed expectations to the sale and final settlement, both yourself (Charlott) and Simon were a pleasure to deal with. I would definitely recommend Amati.

Although my violins turned out to be not of great value (I more or less knew that already – although one turned out to be worth more than I expected), I was deeply impressed by the skill, courtesy and patience of the gentleman (Simon, as I remember) who did the valuation. He could not have been more pleasant, patient and helpful, taking time to explain all about my violins, and displaying great knowledge and interest. Given that this all took place in a rather charming hotel in Epsom, it was a very pleasant experience all round, and Amati fully deserve the five stars I have given them.

I sold my old school-days cello via the Amati valuation and their on-line auction. I took the cello to Oswald at a hotel in London. The process was very smooth, I trusted them throughout, I got a very reasonable price and they transferred the money to my bank account exactly when they said they would. I found them very efficient though with also an amusing musical quirk. The process was worthwhile financially and in human terms!

Thank you for letting me know and for the efficiency of the Amati service throughout. Please thank Simon Howes for his expert advice when I met him at his valuation day in Ely back in January. I especially hope my Hill violin bow, which sold in January, ends up with someone who appreciates it as much as Simon did!

Just to say thank you to Simon for giving me a valuation on my 2 violins yesterday in Newcastle His advice was very informative & it was a pleasure to meet him.

I took my violin and a couple of bows to be valued at The Amati Exhibition at The Langham. The service was absolutely excellent. James Buchanan and his colleagues imparted so much knowledge and were really helpful and very friendly. Highly recommended!