b sharp

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About b sharp

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  • Birthday 07/16/1969

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    www.bekkerviolins.com
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    Johannesburg

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  1. Thanks for all the responses and valuable advice. I will revert to the family...
  2. Yes, I think that is probably true. Unless there is anything obvious on the pictures to indicate that the violins are not what the family think they are, I am inclined to just give them an indication of the values with a big caveat that I can't confirm authenticity...
  3. No ruse. She was quite old and probably did not play any more. I am a longstanding member of this site and understand the etiquette. Here are two more pictures of her playing the violins if it will add some credibility.
  4. I am requesting the collective wisdom of the forum to assist a family following a terrible event in South Africa. About a month ago a retired professional violin player, Sophie Gehring, was murdered in her home during a robbery. Amongst other things her two violins were stolen. Her family is busy dealing with the insurers and approached me to provide a value on her missing violins. The information about them is very sketchy and the attached pictures are the only ones remaining. This is what the family believes: Violin 1: HC Silvestre - Paris 1896 Violin 2: Jean Baptiste - Paris 1850 (I suppose it is meant to be a Vuillaume?) I am aware that these two makers' names might also be attached to 'workshop of' type instruments, and that will affect the valuation substantially. So the question really is whether these instruments are from the hands of the makers mentioned. I don't have the expertise to answer this. Any assistance will be appreciated. Also, if you happen to come across these two violins, please contact me. Albertus Bekker
  5. Here is a (quite lengthy) article by Edward Docx that really made me think. I often wondered why many people find violin making attractive in the 21st century. The crux of the article is right at the end, so keep on reading. Here is a preview: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2011/07/postmodernism-is-dead-va-exhibition-age-of-authenticism/
  6. I visited a family member in hospital earlier this year, and there was this guy in the same ward with a massive bandage on his hand. He was a tough looking guy with a heavy tan and serious tattoos. I overheard him saying that he was a professional diver in Nigeria. This made me curious - I was thinking 'shark' or 'moray eel' or 'terrorists'... So I asked him what happened. He told me he was on leave and home in South Africa when it happened. He was trying to fix his old motorbike and struggling to remove the exhaust pipe. So he used his trusty old hammer. One of his blows missed the exhaust pipe and struck his other hand that was resting on the edge of the workbench. He removed one finger completely After commiserating, I told him that he will have to work on his story before returning to Nigeria...
  7. What I found very useful was to draw the F-holes on the top and then take a picture from straight above the plate and from a few feet away. Do the same with the poster that you are trying to follow. The two pictures can easily be superimposed on each other using most photo editor software and any differences will pop out. This method eliminates the curvature effect of the arching and I think our brains spot differences much easier in two dimensions rather than three.
  8. b sharp

    Ground (Sealer)

    I think plain old shellac is probably a good choice as a sealer for a beginner. It is really foolproof and looks pretty good.
  9. I think this is a very elegant solution. A few of these on the label, behind blocks, under the varnish, even embedded in the wood in a hidden place and the instrument is marked for eternity for a very low cost. It is also not linked to any technology like a scanner. A handheld microscope or loupe is all that is needed. Microdots
  10. I agree with all of what you said, Oded. I don't think I have any firm recourse to the auction house or to the owners. The problem with buying an instrument like that is determining the price. In hindsight, with the knowledge of what it eventually sold for at auction, a fair price would have been +- $5k (if you factor in setup work, transport, insurance, commissions, risk, profit etc.) Now from the buyers point-of-view that looks quite bad. If they sold it for $5k and I manage to sell it for $30k they will tell everybody that I conned them. The problem with charging a consultation fee is that in the majority of the cases these violins are duds. At what point do you negotiate the fee? And do you still charge the fee if it is worth zip? In some sense I am worse off, because I asked favours of contacts to get confirmation of the value and attribution. Will they help me again in future? Maybe it is better to just decline to give an opinion...
  11. Thanks Jacob and Manfio - good advice as usual.
  12. Can't remember the exact amount, but it was less than expected. I think it was for about $10k. Although the violin was in good condition it was not sounding that great. I found previous auction prices for this maker of $30k. So all-in-all I think the owner lost as well - they could probably have received more if the violin was properly adjusted and sold with papers.
  13. Here is what happened to me a few months ago: An old couple come to see me and show me two violins and a bow. They inherited the stuff from a parent that was a serious player. They state that they may be interested in selling and they need an opinion on possible value. I immediately recognise that the instruments and bow are interesting and might be valuable and tell them this. I offer to find out more and they agree. I do some research and it turns out that the one violin and bow are nothing special but the second violin is a modern Italian in the $20-30k range. I also send some pictures to auction houses asking for confirmation. In my communication to them I explain that the violin in question is not owned by me and that the owner might be interested to sell, but no decision has been made. I get some responses from the auction houses that confirms my attribution and value. I contact the owners and tell them the good news. They are shocked since they did not expect this in their wildest dreams ($20-30k is a lot of money around here!) I also offer to help them sell the violin if they want to. They respond that they will think about it and leave. Months go by and I don't hear anything from them. I also get some correspondence from the auction houses asking what is happening and I respond that I haven't heard anything from the owners but I suspect that they might be trying to sell the instrument themselves. One auction house actually responds by saying that if they see the violin again they will remember me. The next time I see the violin is in the catalogue of an auction house (one I contacted!) and the violin is sold. Unfortunately it is not the auction house that promised to remember me. I decide to send an e-mail to the auction house to just let them know that I saw the sale, but receives no response. Although my conscience is clean, I can't help feeling that I somehow didn't handle this very well. Some specific questions: - How do you handle this situation? - Do I have any recourse to the clients or auction house? - Should I have charged a consulting fee before telling them the value? - Should I have offered to buy the instrument? - Should I have declined to help since there is nothing to be gained? - What if the instrument was worth $1 million?
  14. Bruce Thanks for those pics - very useful. One question: are those pics from areas where players normally touch the cello? I've seen something similar on some of my violins in the normal touch areas.
  15. Hi Amori, trust you are well... This is how I do it 1. You have the image ready on your hard drive somewhere. 2. Then click on the button circled in red (picture below) when you write your post. 3. Then press UPLOAD 4. Then press Manage Currrent Attachments (above UPLOAD) and click on your picture 5. It should then appear somewhere in your reply looking like this Hope it works for you! Albertus Bekker www.bekkerviolins.com