Dimitri Musafia

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  1. To me it looks like having been been assembled at gunpoint.
  2. It could very well be that they did, especially since a case-making workshop takes up a lot of space. Trouble is, it is so difficult to find reliable information.
  3. Thank you! It had better be, since it made a record auction price (paid by me unfortunately)! Here's a view of the outside. That end handle is so precisely made it looks painted.
  4. Hmmm. My Hill "Apostle" is from 1887 and bears a New Bond Street label.
  5. There is no doubt that Hill's made cases. Their "Art Cases" (aka "Apostles") are testament, as is their own catalog of the late 1880s where they showcase their new case making workshop. And yet the similarities between my Hart & Son and a period correct similar case by Hill's is quite obvious.
  6. Hart & Son also made cases, although they are absolutely identical to Hill cases of the time, making it plausible that one company made both. Which? No one seems to know. In any event Hart & Son had high-end clients as well. I own a double Hart & Son case which belonged to Eugene Ysaie.
  7. Nooooooo….. but I was expecting something to happen. Having had to sell the two family Steinways (a Hamburg B and a NY D) I realized that there is an incredible glut of pianos on the market. People who can't afford a new one can always buy a used one, of which the market is saturated. It took me two years to sell the D - no one in the L.A. area (including the Steinway place) would even take it on consignment. Bonhams offered to auction it with a base price of $15K. This is for a concert grand that had been bought new, maintained by the technician who used to work at La Scala on their dozen or so grands, and which Vladimir Ashkenazy wanted (but my dad had first dibs). Something is definitely out of tune with the piano market.
  8. As someone who has lived in Cremona 41 years and knows just about everyone in the lutherie field here, I can say that among my maker friends no-one uses instruments purchased in the white. The proviso is that in my generation, makers have their reputations well-established and won't risk it to make instruments more cheaply - they simply have no need to do so. The same cannot be guaranteed for the younger makers, fresh out of the school. Thirty years ago their market was Japan, which bought up these "entry level" Cremona violins in quantity. However, the younger makers now have the competition of competent Chinese makers in their price category, and the Japanese market has pretty much dried up, so I can imagine them being squeezed. I would also like to add that there is nothing inherently wrong or deceiving about a maker having workshop help to work on an instrument. Stradivari did that and no one is complaining.
  9. Cool, Dwight! My Contax II was made in Jena at the original Zeiss place and has the collapsible Tessar, which is what got me going with the Zeiss optics. But alas I too am firmly in the digital age, although for some reason my younger daughter recently bought a Polaroid… Half the photos don't come out, and they all cost €3 each - sheesh!
  10. Good morning Dwight, well, that's another thing we have in common! I have (or had) a pre-war Contax II with Weston light meter, a Contax 139, Rolleiflex SL35, Canon AT-1, a Minolta SRT-102, and a brand-new, unused Yashica FX-3. I always wanted a Kiev 80 (Soviet wannabe Hasselblad) but could never find one that worked! I used to have a medium format Zenobia but I sold it when I was financing my stay in Italy… Do you have the Minox spy camera, or the 35 with the fold-in lens?
  11. That's where market forces, fueled by an implausible plurality of truths, comes into play. In the '70s Straw Hat Pizza Co aired a commercial explaining that pizza was invented in the Italian town of… Pizza. There they had an annual pizza making festival in which the winning pizza-maker got carried around wearing the Straw Hat as a sort of crown. It was 100% BS - pizza was invented in Naples - but people believed it and flocked to their pizza parlors nonetheless.
  12. It rather depends on if we are talking about art, or conceptual art. No one would think for a minute that Armani sews those suits himself, but everyone takes for granted that Van Gogh did his own painting. Violin making is a field somewhere in the middle between art and conceptual art, where there is not only a lot of leeway, but also fluctuation of standards over the years. That said, most reputable makers, in Cremona at least, will certify if they made the instrument mostly by themselves, or if they are "workshop instruments" wholly made by paid hands. In the latter event, they will charge of course less.
  13. For those who study baroque violin cases, the expertise quoted lists quite more than enough elements to confirm that this is indeed an Italian case of the period, and not of German, French, or English origin. That said, the expertise does not suggest that the case is from the Stradivari workshop.
  14. Actually, the certification reads that the case was, in the opinion of the certifier, quote, "made in Italy in the 18th century, probably between 1720 and 1770 circa." and then proceeds to describe why. (note: Stradivari died in 1737) Yes, it's the case the Tarisio had at auction, no, it didn't sell and in my opinion the reason why is that it needs to be restored before it can fetch a reasonable price. I did suggest to the owner the name of a person who has restored cases like this one before and I hope he will eventually have the work done.
  15. It is indeed a holster case, however I've never seen exactly that type of aperture before. If it's English, perhaps that would explain it… :-)