I went bow shopping the other day and found a bow I really like. It gives me the sound I was looking for, I like the balance and playability, etc. It is described as an O. Schilbach from the 20s but I question that. Schilbach was in NY from at least the turn of the century until his death in 1947. His son was also in NY as far as I know. The bow is stamped "....bach" (the first part of the name is not legible) and it has a six pointed star stamped after the name. It is also stamped "Germany" on the underside, which raises questions since neither Schilbach operated in Germany.
The asking price is $2800 and the shop says at that price I am paying for the wood and the quality of workmanship, not the name. The stick is nicely made but the frog does not fit as closely as other bows I have seen. There are also some small blemishes / workmanship issues where the (bone, I think) head plate meets the wood. Not sure if either are original to the bow. I don't see any noticeable repairs but the finish is worn in places near the frog (expected if this is in fact a 90 year old bow).
So what does one do? There are two competent luthiers in the area but they are competitors and I'm not comfortable pitting one against the other because I'm not sure the formal or informal appraisal would be objective. The bow is tagged so it is obvious it is on approval. I really like this bow but $2800 is a lot of money (slightly more than I paid for the cello) unless I can be convinced that is actually its fair market value.