Expert opinion means the evaluation of an object, while appraisal means the estimation of its value. Art trade uses variants of these concepts, so it is recommended to distinguish them clearly.
The experts of old graphics or paintings are mostly qualified professionals with college degree. They are usually directors of state or municipal galleries or those of conservatories; they may be owners of historical values, or possibly managers of graphics studios. Generally, they do not participate in trading, so naturally, their influence on the market is not as dynamic as the impact of an art trader. It can be concluded that a well-prepared expert - who is primarily an art historian – is not necessarily a creditable appraiser. However, as they are experienced appraisers, they are often requested business advice. Alert art traders rarely overlook a change in the ownership of high-value art. As their capabilities to evaluate art pieces are limited, they would make better appraisers than experts. However, it assumes advanced skills in appraising the quality of a given art piece.
When appraising violins, the situation is completely different. First of all, the process totally lacks art historian experts with academic background. The formation of such a circle cannot be expected either in the near or in the distant future, since art studies preparing students to be violin experts are not available in higher education. This circumstance spares us from looking for the answer to the question: Why are there no experts and appraisers with a university degree? Obviously, a diploma requires university exams. In the course of judicial proceedings, an expert of string and plucked instruments - an appraisal master - is requested to give expert opinion. In general, expert opinion itself is emphasized, rather than the appraiser.
In recent years, in all sectors of art dealing related to old violins, so-called scientific experts, "liutologists" appeared. This broad concept cannot be projected to a single area. Actually, it covers all phenomena in the world of violin making. Thus, once again, our field was enriched by a useless concept, considering that no one is "omniscient" or "polyhistor" of the violin who could be an academic expert in all areas.
All fields of science have long been specialized, so the diverse field of string instruments cannot be an exception, either. Thus, a liutologist should be considered a genealogist and a historian. For example, in this case, the family of violin and lute makers is being researched. But it can also be a researcher who is enthralled by the poliform appearance of string instruments and declares this field as his own scientific enclave. Or perhaps it can be a modern physicist in the field of sounds, whose research of sound issues uses all modern technical devices to promote violin making. However, even a professional writer can be a liutologist, whose publications have the violin in the centre. The related literature is enriched and violin makers also get suggestions from them. However, they are not representatives of the practical area of trade and therefore cannot be considered experts. True liutologists would never doubt the restriction of a fact or explanation. On Cremonae auction website you can get help in connection with the appraisal of the value of violins, violas and cellos.