It’s easy for a players at any level to fall into the trap of thinking that the more expensive a violin is, the better it will sound. In fact the antique value of a violin is largely unrelated to its tone or playability – violins with no little or antique value, by lesser-known or modern makers, can be excellent from a musical point of view.
For some time I’ve been collecting information about the tonal quality of antique violins by named makers. I’ve now made this into a public resource on the web site to help de-bunk the myth that the more you pay the better the sound (look here!). If you are planning to upgrade your current instrument, you may find it useful to look at this assessment of tone and think about your priorities: are you buying a violin to improve your sound and help you progress as a player or are you thinking of your purchase as an investment in an antique? If you are primarily interested in the tone of an instrument, paying more will not necessarily help.