martin swan

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  1. Hi George, the Nürnbberger was good but I didn't ask my friend to check the weight - the other bows as I recall, one was an OK new bow by a Mexican maker, the other some kind of trade German stick with a Knopf-ish silver button that didn't belong.
  2. PhilipKT sorry to be so coy, but I didn't wish to answer in detail until the sale was over, for obvious reasons ...! I broadly agree with Michael above. I looked at these bows online about a week ago - I suppose like many dealers I have automatic searches for such things. Like Michael, I would never buy a bow at auction without looking at it closely under magnification for breaks and lifts. Ideally one would play it, but if it doesn't have hair I would still want to check the strength of the stick. As a general principle, for any bow that doesn't have hair I would risk half as much as if I had been able to play it. Bows that end up at auction without hair - generally there's a reason, either disguised lifts/breaks behind the head or just very poor playability. Luckily I have an expert colleague and good friend who lives 5 miles from Monrovia CA, so I asked him to visit based on the photos. What I saw in the photos was this ... The top bow is all Voirin, and appears a nice example but with some worrisome wear to the handle - you can see that the brand is slightly eroded ... the brand is correct, all features are correct, the wood is very typical, the head is classic, quite flat cheeks, elegant and skeletal. The button has a bit of a messed up collar, the screw mortise will need bushing, other bits of maintenance required, but basically a decent-looking Voirin. The third bow looks good for the stick and the frog, but the button appears to be a replacement - the metal doesn't match, the pin visible in the back ring is poorly done, the cap is very flat rather than slightly rounded, and the fact that the front ring has rotated suggests it might not be pinned. There are at least two significant cracks to the handle behind the frog ... The second bow looks like a copy - the brand is wrong, the head is "fat", the throat of the frog rising up from the ferrule is quite different in shape from the other two (though this is slightly confused by the worn thumb projection), the soldering to the ferrule looks crude, the angle of the back of the frog is too acute ... BUT ... it has good Voirin features. I just wouldn't be certain enough to want to lay money down for it and I would guess it's a later "hommage". So then comes the issue of weight - many Voirins are just too light or flexible to be easily sold. And if a bow is under 58 grams or a bit floppy, it's really not something I would buy, however cheap ... unless it's a Tourte. My friend went to look at the bows (and the other items in the sale) twice. The upshot was that he came to exactly the same conclusions about authenticity and condition and he thought both 1 and 3 were soft and a bit light. So we decided to bid no more than $3500, since in a worst case scenario if we ended up with one saleable but floppy Voirin, we could always put it into a Tarisio sale and hopefully double up . If there are any specific details you'd like to discuss, now's a good time! I hope that's a helpful snapshot into how a rather embattled dealer might approach the matter - you get to be very wary of auctions, and even something like this from a known collection is likely to be worse than you hope. An auction is an extremely clever and sophisticated system for generating the greatest possible amount of recklessness from a buyer, and it's always good to remember that.
  3. yes that's true, but with a bit of experience and some knowledge of who our members actually are you can see that many responders have an agenda or an axe to grind ... myself included Some sell on Ebay, some have been badly burned on Ebay, some buy on Ebay and then resell, some are in competition with Ebay, some have to put up with endless Ebay bargain hunters turning up at their shops asking for free evaluations - all of which introduces a bit of bias. Witnessing or participating in these debates is very entertaining but it's not the most efficient way to develop an eye ...
  4. You're right of course, I can't have it both ways ... There is nothing that I or anyone else can do to stop discussion of items coming up for sale at auction. However, for as long as i can remember, I have been saying that if the purpose of posting is to learn about features of particular makers etc. then this is the worst context in which to do it. Firstly we are often being drawn into discussion of what things aren't, rather than what things are. Secondly we are caught up in the (quite powerful) tide of disinformation which accompanies any authentic item which might be bought cheaply. If you know the relevant players on Maestronet you will know that everyone posts in their own commercial interests. Several people have done this in this thread, myself included - I am a dealer after all. So if the intention is to learn, it's better to study authentic examples from archives. Or better still to handle them in the flesh.
  5. In principle I agree, but it can (and I'm sure does) have an impact on other people's business. For instance, if someone wants to buy something, what's to stop them from saying it's fake? Or just casting general doubt ... If someone wants to undermine other dealers but can't actually bid themselves, what's to stop them from saying something is authentic and a great buy when it isn't? So my point would be that you can't expect objective discussion of items offered for low reserves at non-specialist auctions. This is where many dealers make their living.
  6. Philip, you are not taking me at face value It's very clear that you're not interested in buying any of this stuff, since if you were, the last thing you would do would be to draw the entire violin community's attention to it. You are absoloutely within your rights but it must be a source of considerable annoyance to some members here to have got all excited about some sleeping beauty in a country auction, only to have it flagged up on Maestronet. I'm sure that the Tubbs made an extra grand thanks to the publicity it got on this forum. All the more ironic since you genuinely don't have any financial interest in the matter. As far as authenticity/identification etc. is concerned, I think you'll find the discussion flows freely once the sale is over, and if that's your general goal I would suggest posting after an auction has ended.
  7. I see someone with a very annoying habit of flagging up stuff for sale at auction on a busy specialist forum If you were interested in buying yourself it's the last thing you would do, so I wonder what your motivation is.
  8. Also not true in my opinion, though a 1920s EH Roth is hardly a dutzendarbeit ...
  9. Well that's a matter of opinion. I for one find average Chinese trade instruments to be markedly superior to equivalent Saxon trade instruments. The measurements, model, arching, thicknessing - all these are pretty conventional and based on better information. Sometimes the wood is poor but that's true of both ....
  10. a 15-20dB change in level around 2kHz is going to have an immense difference on the sound (perceived or otherwise) of the instrument. The read and yellow lines don't look remotely similar. I think people expect changes in the loudness of the fundamental to make a big difference, but for my money everything to do with projection and perceived loudness is in the overtones or higher harmonics.
  11. I'm aware of the Lutgendorff entry but I don't regard this as an actual reference to a verified maker. It only confirms the existence of a label.
  12. The violins that can be found on auction sites are not copies of a purported maker called Lombardi but bog standard German trade instruments with a spurious Lombardi label stuck in them. I assume the name was made up by some wholesaler of Markneukirchen violins to add a bit of lustre. I can't find any references for an actual maker with this name (Jalovec mentions only the existence of a violin with a 1789 label which he obviously won't have seen), and as far as I know there was no violin-making in Rimini before the 20th century. I may be wrong but I can think of any Italian maker who Italianized his first name to "Julius" - this seems entirely a feature of German and Czech makers.