martin swan

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by martin swan

  1. 4 hours ago, sospiri said:


    The wood looks too nice to be a cheap copy.


    Not to me - it looks bog standard.


    3 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

    Can't figure out why you'd fake a detail like the serial number but ignore the issue of the mortise right beside it.  In the present day crooks are often kind of dumb though...

    Brands, labels, serial numbers, these are all a lot easier to fake than a style of making. 

    Having said all that, this bow is kind of intriguing. If it is a fake Bultitude it certainly wouldn't be the only one out there.


  2. 18 minutes ago, sospiri said:

    I agree. A discarded bow would fit the evidence if it was part of a lot of Arthur Bultitude's work sold after he died. And then finished by someone with poor skills.

    The wood looks too nice to be a cheap copy.


    It wouldn't be stamped with a serial number until it was completed.

  3. 28 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

    Indeed. The Greek word for “camel,” kamelon, is almost identical to the Aramaic word for “rope,” kamilon. "Easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle" makes more literal sense than "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," so very likely a mistranslation.


    George H, shame on you - don't you know there is a specific, strict direct warning about this? Everyone knows that Jesus spoke English.

    Don't be surprised of you get a "visit" from one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse ...

  4. I'm not aware of Vitelli or Vitello as a trade name, and it certainly doesn't appear in any lists of Italian makers. 

    Given that there are around 1000 Italian labels for every authentic Italian violin, it seems highly unlikely that the OP's financial issues are going to be resolved by the acquisition of this violin.

    It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a person to acquire an Italian violin at a bargain price ...

  5. 9 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

    Yes I did buy it, but the point remains. Why go to all that trouble to make a fake when making it as a regular bow would take less trouble and result in a no less playable bow? The extra work isn’t a guarantee it will be easier to sell.

    Well, it sold at a speculative auction for maybe 4 figures? I wonder how much it sold for before it ended up in auction.

    Any industrial workshop could produce something like this for a couple of hundred. If they sold it as their own work they would maybe double up if they were lucky. There are really great Brazilian workshops producing super-sharp pernambuco bows with a wholesale cost of $2-300.



  6. 5 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

    I am curious, however, about the motivation to make such a clumsy fake. Assuming that it is a fake, even this required a great deal of work and effort. Why not just make a bow and let it stand on its own merits? It would require much less work.

    Don't mean to be rude, but if it was that clumsy you wouldn't have bought it ...



  7. 1 hour ago, Rue said:

    While I enjoy the entire mystery of the violin world, and delving into all the minutia,  I don't fully grasp? when one should be hung up about the tiniest difference and when one should not.

    Geez...I sometimes even spell my name wrong when signing a document.  It doesn't mean anything at all other than I wasn't paying attention at that moment.  So it's not a forgery, nor an indicator of famine, nor an indicator that I was being coerced...

    Everything about a Bultitude is "just so" - he was an incredibly precise worker and he didn't make that mortise. Bow makers use templates and always use the same tools for the same jobs, and the mortises always look the same.

    Where I am at with this bow is ...

    1. I don't believe the button is Bultitude, since the first ring of the button is always short, generally the second cut of the collar is very pronounced, and the buttons tend to be marginally fuller than the sticks.

    2. The brand is curiously wonky for Bultitude, who was pretty obsessive about such things ....

    3. The rose motif is out of alignment and is a bit scrappy compared to what you'd expect - I haven't seen one with so little detail in the centre

    4. The chamfers are sloppy

    5. The head is weak, and even allowing for the missing bit of the nose I don't see that there's room behind the silver face to make a nice Bultitude point

    So on balance I would say at the very least it's a funky composite, at worst it's a copy/fake ...

  8. 6 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

    Maybe someone tried to whittle out the back of the mortise to allow more tightening.  The curve isn't exactly machine perfect and you'd expect the other end to be rounded too if it was routed. 


    The principal point about the mortise on Philip's bow is that it's too short. If someone had whittled out the end with a gouge or a knife it would be longer than normal, not shorter.

  9. 1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

    Martin you saw the other photographs, did you see anything in them that gives you pause? The slide is kind of short, which seems typical, the date is very hard to read even up close, but could be “54“ or “55“ But the faceplate doesn’t have the Hillmark on it.

    I don’t have the bow at the moment, but my vote is for a clumsy Repair.

    I don't quite think the bow is authentic - there were other details that were off, the adjuster, the size and orientation of the "tudor rose" - but I'm really not sure and I would recommend you post the other photos here.

    It wouldn't have a Hill marking on the faceplate since Bultitude only used the rose frog decoration after he left Hills.

    I can't see how the skanky routered mortise can be the result of a repair unless there is new wood between the serial number and the "England" stamp, and I don't see any. Besides, if someone was clever enough to insert new wood almost invisibly, would they be cack-handed enough to make such an execrable mortise?

  10. 1 hour ago, Rue said:

    I'm not seeing a difference in the 'England'...

    2020 Bow Mortise Comparison MN (2).jpg

    On Philip's bow the A of ENGLAND takes up more room.

    However, I don't think this is terribly important as these stamps are quite varied, The important thing is the size and shape of the mortise and the way it's made. The only way Philip's bow could be genuine is if there's a piece in the bottom facet with a new mortise ...


  11. 2 hours ago, Mac1990 said:

    So where are the originals with that label then? That is what confuses me. We have a published book that says there are original vuillaumes with that label. 

    I'm also not understanding what you're asking.

    If you look carefully at the label in your violin and the label no. 3 from your original post you will see that they are not the same. Your label is an apocryphal label, a loose copy of the Vuillaume label but with different typesetting and punctuation. I don't see how a discussion of genuine Vuillaume labels and genuine Vuillaume violins/fiddles is in any way relevant.


  12. 1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

    Thanks for the pictures: Your fiddle would seem to be a “Dutzendarbeit” (cottage industry product) from the Markneukirchen (Saxon) area, roughly about 1900ish, with an absurd fake label.

    Agree - bears no relation to ay kind of Vuillaume.

    Labels are really the last thing to look at in any violin.

  13. I think you should also bear in mind that over 99% of the violins with Vuillaume labels aren't "copies" of Vuillaumes, but simply violins with a spurious Vuillaume label.

    There are some Laberte instruments that could be conceived as being made in the style/manner of Vuillaume, but these are few and far between, and they aren't really copies either - more they incorporate a certain approach to varnish/antique-ing.

  14. 7 hours ago, germain said:

    If you've gone to all that effort of tooling a brand or two and formatting a fake label, might as well make good use of it ...

  15. 13 minutes ago, Delabo said:

     I see the seller lives in "Toulouse" France.

    Is that the same one that crops up regularly in the auction scroll  that we are warned about ?




    Yes, one of several IDs - a serial re-labeller and brander. Or more likely a safe outlet for someone else's dirty work, since that's how the French underground trade tends to operate.

    The original violin looks like it could be something from the Apparut workshop/stable but it's been truly buggered about.

    Nothing to do with Corsini or any Italian maker.

    Sadly this violin would be worth more without all the stupid add-ons.