Welcome to DonovanViolins

(215) 928-0577

About DonovanViolins


My name is Richard Donovan and I work independently as a restorer, dealer and appraiser. With more than forty-five years' experience I provide expert repair, restoration and adjustment of stringed instruments.  After joining William Moennig & Son Ltd. in 1972, I had the opportunity to work closely with experts in the field of stringed instruments and bows including William Moennig III, William Moennig Jr.,  Dario D’Atilli and Philip Kass.  My experience in repair and aptitude for varnish restoration provided an opportunity to study  many fine instruments and to learn restoration and adjustment techniques from the  excellent craftsmen who worked there.  Since the mid-1990's I  became increasingly active in sales. 

i became a member of the Appraisers Association of America in 2004.  When the Moennig shop closed in December 2009 I was Vice President.  I have spoken on the subject of violin repair and its history to various groups and contributed photographs and articles to publications including the Strad magazine.  dick@donovanviolins.com 



During my years at William Moennig & Son I worked on some of the world's finest instruments and with some of the world's finest musicians.  I have performed and observed repairs, restorations and adjustments for over forty years.  I had the good fortune to participate in the first week-long American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers' seminar at the Smithsonian Institute's conservation laboratories.    

It is unfortunate that much of the damage done to fine instruments has occurred at the workbench.  Poorly done repairs are difficult if not impossible to correct.  A proper repair should be as reversible as possible.  I take a conservative approach to repairs and restoration and prefer not to replace or disturb original materials, parts and coatings. The simplest, least invasive repair is often the most effective means to optimal performance for the player while preserving the instrument for the next generations of musicians.

Since I do all the bench work myself, time limits the amount of work I can accept.
For inquiries and estimates


The value of a violin, viola, cello or bow is determined by the identity of its maker; where and when it was made, the condition of the instrument, its provenance and market conditions.   The sound of the instrument has very little to do with the insurance or replacement value--it is too subjective to quantify-- but it can affect its market price and time on the market.

Studying fine instruments and bows over these forty-five years has left me extensive knowledge and experience.  As an accredited member of the Appraisers Association of America I am qualified to provide insurance and estate appraisals.

Verbal appraisal.......................... $50.00

Insurance appraisal:
Value to $10,000.00                                      $100.00

 $10,001.00 to $25,000.00                            $150.00  

$25,001.00  to $50,000.00                            $200.00

$50,001.00 to $100,000.00                          $250.00

Over $100,001.00                                          $300.00 


Value to $2500.00                                           $75.00 

$2501.00 to  $10,000.00                               $100.00

$10,001.00 to   $25,000.00                           $125.00

Over $25,001.00                                            $150.00 


I always have a nice collection of violins, a few violas and cellos and a good selection of bows for sale. 

  1. Please contact me for details or an appointment. 
    If you are interested in selling your instrument or bow I would be happy to explore the
    possibilities with you.       

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7037 McCallum St. Philadelphia, PA 191193004, us

(215) 928-0577


By appointment