DjangoBooks. Michael Horowitz gypsy guitars - Vintage Gypsy Guitars - Busato- Favino-Di Mauro-Castelluccia

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Horowitz or Mazzoleni, who's the best expert?

Well, when Horowitz was trying to sell dozens of guitars for me, I received hundreds of emails from him. Michael likes to write.
He also likes to believe that he is the only one who knows anything about vintage guitars. I know a little bit also and I could see on many occasions that he does not know as much as what he thinks. Far from that. An ego problem?

He sold only a handful of Busatos, while Mazzoleni sold much more. Mazzoleni is the true expert in this market and he knows what he is selling and what he is talking about. I would trust Mazzoleni's expert opinion a thousand times more than Horowitz's. That's my humble opinion.

And of course Horowitz believes Mazzoleni will soon go belly up. Here is what he thinks of him. He thinks the same of anybody who dares breathing the same air as him. He is posting very few vintage guitars now on his website. Is it that people are opening their eyes?


It’s a jungle out there! Caveat Emptor (check the translation on Wikipedia) is now visited every month by 3000 fans around the globe, and it has been online for less than 6 months. I receive dozens of emails every week with kind words and also questions about guitars. I will continue to spend time updating and trying to improve my site for the benefit of thousands of vintage gypsy guitars fans, as they had previously little access to precious information about the object of their passion.

My motivation creating this site was to give the best information about vintage instruments, free of charge, while this market was and still is fully controlled by brokers who make great profits with no risk at all selling vintage guitars for people.

I started selling some of my collection of about 100 guitars from January 2012.  

During the first months I did it through Michael Horowitz of Djangobooks who sold on his site a couple of dozen of my own guitars. It was indeed a leap of faith and a risk, as I received early 2012 a very alarming email from Michael Horowitz competitor and ex-partner for years, Jacques Mazzoleni from I then informed Mazzoleni that I was not buying a Busato from him, but instead I bought Neil Andersson’s Busato from Horowitz who sold it to me, stating it was a great playing instrument "one of the best Busatos", which is a plain lie. I resold this guitar through Horowitz who enjoyed a second commission on the same guitar. Well, he is in business after all, right!

Horowitz started his career working with Mazzoleni, who opened his website in 1999, many years before Djangobooks existed. They obviously did not split in good terms…

You can see a copy of this email sent to me on February 10 th
2012, and this is the exact translation, as both Mazzoleni and I are French and the email is in French:


I am translating Mazzoleni's email to me word for word:

Hi Jean Paul,
Thanks for the message.
M. Horowitz is a big stinking piece of shit.
I simply hope for you that he will treat you better than most of the poor guys who knock at his door …
Good luck…

Those of you who speak French will appreciate the flavor of the email.

Despite this warning, which I ignored at the time as I do not like people speaking ill of their ex-partners and it looks always suspicious to me, I went on and decided to buy this very common and not at all exceptional Neil Andersson Busato, and also sell my guitars through Djangobooks and Michael Horowitz. I hoped that Mazzoleni simply exaggerated and that I would not be one of these poor guys who knocked at the door of Michael Horowitz.

A clear pattern appeared week after week. Horowitz quoted to me the price he was confident to sell my guitars after seeing pictures and also having the guitars in his own hands once I shipped, convinced by his salesmanship.

In a lot of occurrences, he sold them for less as he had a client for not for that price. Fed up with this, I tried to sell my collection myself.

I still believe that M. Horowitz is an honorable man but I would just draw the conclusion that my business with him was not successful and I was particularly unlucky dealing with him.

Since then, I sold the rest of my collection through Ebay or by advertising on my website. I am certainly glad I am now out of the hands of M. Horowitz.

Freedom and independence have a price though. Horowitz questioned openly my expert advice with some of his prospects in a few occasions, implying I was a lier.

There won’t be any war between Horowitz and me. I am not in the business of selling guitars, he is.

He was so pissed-off I opened my website that he dared sending me a monthly invoice (I have the copy) as I was placing on pictures of my own guitars sold through him! I thought then he got balls and told him but I did not want a war and removed the pictures. I lived this bizarre episode like someone married to his wife for years, divorced from her, and was asked not to keep her pictures in frames in his own house.

I would now pay much more attention and give much more credit to Jacques Mazzoleni warning emails. And I know now that I was ill advised picking Djangobooks and Michael Horowitz as my broker for a couple of months. While Horowitz made good profits on my guitar collection sales, the consequence of my bad decision was that I lost profits I could have kept for myself.

You might think this post is controversial. It is just a way for me of sharing my painful experience of this wonderful activity of acquiring great instruments.

Caveat Emptor!

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