Mom's uncle paid 35 cents for an "empty" fiddle case at a tag sale. When he popped it open, he found there was a fiddle inside after all. I recently had a friend of mine set it up properly and, after hearing him play it, I wouldn't part with it for anything. Someone guessed that it was an early 20th century mass-produced instrument (at the higher end of what might have been sold through, say, Sears & Roebuck). It can't be worth much monetarily, but even after several decades without use it's incredibly loud and incredibly resonant.
I only wish I could play it. I took lessons for a year when I was four and my mother keeps telling me, "It will come back to you." I'd like to know WHAT will come back to me. One year of Suzuki isn't going to make much of a dent in the learning process.
So, basically, find somebody who can work on it that isn't such a snob and enjoy yourself. I bought a cheap guitar when I went to college so I wouldn't have to risk my mother's lovely Guild. For $150 at a pawn shop I got a base-level Alvarez that sounds and plays as well as the next, but I won't be emotionally scarred if it's stolen or sat-on.