Pawn shops get asked a lot of questions every day. How long are pawn loans good for? Do you take in laptops? And sometimes it is “How much do pawn shops pay for violins?”
The short answer to this question is that overall, pawn shops pay pretty well for violins.
However, the longer answer to this question is that it really depends on the violin to be honest.
You see, violins aren’t like other musical instruments out there.
Things like clarinets, flutes, etc. are all pretty easy to quickly determine the condition and value of using sites like eBay and Amazon.
On the other hand, there are some violins out there that are just about priceless.
Mind you, I’m not using that loosely as an expression. There are violins that exist which really are deemed to be priceless.
Besides that small matter of inconvenience, there is also the fact that violins are much more fragile, sensitive instruments and because of that, really assessing one can be difficult if you are not incredibly familiar with them (or don’t play one for instance.)
So with that in mind, it’s really difficult for me to cover all bases here with broad facts or generalizations about values. Instead, what I will focus on is how you can put the odds in your favor when you take a violin into a pawn shop.
How To Get The Most Money For A Violin At A Pawn Shop
If you’ve made it this far into the article, then by now you know that violins aren’t like your normal or average instruments.
They are a bit of an exception, or special case, for a pawn shop to determine the value of accurately.
Because of that, some pawnbrokers can be a little “Finicky” when handling one for either a loan or buying it on as a sale.
With this in mind, they really aren’t so exceptional that they bend all of the rules. You still want to cover the basics with a violin, just like you would with anything that you brought into a pawn shop to make a loan on or sell.
Make Sure The Violin Is In Good Condition And Clean
The first thing you will want to do is to make sure that the violin is clean and in good condition before you take it into the pawn shop.
Just like anything else that comes through the doors, a pawnbroker is going to look at your violin under the assumption that at some point, they may possibly have to sell it.
The nicer something looks, and the better something works – the more a pawnbroker will be inclined to pay for it because those types of items are normally pretty easy for them to turn around and resell for a profit quickly.
Now, your violin is made out of wood, so don’t go and dunk it in a bathtub full of water.
Just taking a slightly moist cloth and removing dust, or any dirt and debris that may have accumulated over the years will usually be enough.
If you want to get really fancy about things, you can use an instrument polish on the woodwork to give it a really nice shine. Doing so may get you a few extra bucks, so it could be worth the effort.
The next is to make sure that the bow is also clean and in good condition. Some people take their bows apart when they aren’t using them, and while I don’t fully understand why, I just know that a lot of violins come into the pawn shops I’ve worked in with the bows unstrung.
Do yourself and favor and don’t do this when you take your violin in. Seeing an unstrung bow makes pawnbrokers nervous normally because we wonder if there is then a problem with the bow that we can’t see, like a crack or splintering.
Make sure that the case is as clean as possible and in good condition as well. You don’t have to go crazy here, but a shiny case is always better than a dull, dusty case full of animal hair.
Try To Research The Violin Beforehand
Given that violins can be a little more difficult to determine the value of, it’s not a bad idea to do a little research (just like you are doing now) before you take it into the pawn shop.
If you can show them what make and model it is, it will make their job of determining the value of it much easier and ultimately, could get you some extra money.
You might be wondering why that is.
Well, because violins can be harder to identify accurately for a busy pawn shop, if they have two different violin models that look very close to yours, they will probably always operate with a degree of caution and make their offer based on the cheap of the two models.
For them, it is the safest bet because it protects them from making a really costly mistake.
However, them being afraid of making that costly mistake could end up costing you money in the amount that they offer you should you happen to have brought in the more expensive model.
So, for that reason, it’s a good idea to do a little footwork upfront and help the pawnbroker out if you can. This is particularly true if you are familiar with violins (perhaps even play them) and know exactly what you are handling.
What Pawn Shops Offer For Violins Is Based On The Golden Rule
Now with all of this in mind, how much a pawn shop offers you for your violin will be largely based on the current marketplace value for a similar violin on a site like eBay.
Keep in mind that pawn shop aren’t looking at the “Buy it now” prices, or the prices for restored, or even new violins.
What a pawn shop is going to be look at is the value for a used violin like yours, with similar marks and scratches (should yours have any) and a similar quality case and bow.
Their offer will typically be 40-70% of the going eBay value for nearly identical violins that have previously “Sold.”
If you are just making a loan on a violin, or are missing the bow or case, then you can expect something closer to 40%.
If your violin is in very good condition and they are confident that they have an exact match in terms of what make and model it is, then you can expect to get closer to the 70% mark.
What dollar amount does that equal? Hard to say since there are so many violins out there.
It really depends on what you have. It could be anywhere from $15 to $15,000 – and no, that is not an exaggeration. The right violin could easily sell for $20,000 so a pawn shop would be happy to pay you $15,000 under that circumstance.