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  1. I seem to have a slightly different interpretation of this article than most here. As I read it, the problem is not so much with individuals authenticating (or not) individual works, but is more to do with the market putting too much faith in an individual or group of appraisers. Firstly if there is a recognised comprehensive catalogue of authenticated work, anything not included becomes de-facto "not authentic". It's as if the violin world would collectively decide anything not included in the Biddulph book were not an authentic Del Gesu. Secondly, a circle of "experts" who work together to authenticate and thus take on a mantle of credibility much greater than any of them would individually have. Again, the problem is that without their certificate, a work would not be seen as authentic. Imagine instead of Charles Beare authenticating 17th/18th C. Cremona fiddles, it was only done by a group made up of him, Peter Biddulph, Jeffrey, Roger Hargrave and whoever else is recognised is a primary expert. Their word would be absolute and leave no room for any other appraiser. Its not just that people with dodgy violins would suffer from not getting their certificate, a lot of people with authentic violins, but without the groups say so would see a large part of the value of their violins wiped out.
  2. If it hasn't changed since last time I was there, it would be more like "smash, grab and search desperately for the exit". Rob
  3. I belive they will send a list if you have bought a catalogue.
  4. Maybe, but I wonder if this transparency is illusory. To mention some interlinked factors, you can't see from the auction results what condition the instrument was in, or whether or not it's a good example, but this will have a big influence on the price a dealer would pay. As an example, what's the price differential between a "good" and a "bad" Strad? The other issue is that players act as wild cards quite often, I think. Firstly comes the type of case described by Pho6, where a player has simply paid well over the odds. Secondly, most players can't tell if a violin needs a lot of work or not, unless it's really obvious, and will happily bid up an instrument way above what a dealer would pay. I've sat next to a very well known dealer at an auction while he bid up a violin he didn't want himself with the comment "[the bidder] is a player, he shouldn't get it too cheaply", so that player ended up paying retail (about €35,000) on a violin he had no guarantee on and of unknown condition. It's worth noting that none of the other dealers present bid on this particular violin, suggesting to me there was something questionable, or at least less desirable, about it anyway, but that result is going to be noted in the red-book. In the end isn't it only transparent if you were there, saw the instrument in question and have the competence to form an accurate opinion on its value?
  5. Do you think they get less respect than other schools or makers? I have the impression they seem to be valued similarly to other British violins of that period (with the exception of the Vollers) and rather higher than violins of this period from, say the Berlin school. I think it was Bruce Carlson who mentioned a while ago finding a Doetsch which he would have judged as minor Italian until he opened it and found the signature, which speaks rather highly for Doetsch, but nonetheless they crop up quite regularly at auction for not a lot. The situation for other Berlin makers is quite similar while other Germans tend to be even cheaper (I can't comment on their relative quality though).
  6. Thanks for the responses, particularly Jeffreys. I get the impression then that the estimate is (probably) based much more on optimism than any particular qualities of this violin.
  7. Thanks Jeffrey, but I'd argue that the actual price eventually bid will tell me nothing. As has often been pointed out here, all it needs is two people with more money than sense to bid against each other. What would interest me is why someone who knows their onions (which rules me out, but not, I assume, the people at Tarisio) would think this is worth much more than your average G.W-H. Whether or not it's authentic is imaterial to my question, the folks at Tarisio are offering it as such and so have presumably valued it as such, but still at a higher estimate than I would expect. Maybe my expectations are wrong, but that would also be a valid answer to my question. So my question is, assuming it is genuine (I'm not asking whether or not it is), why the high estimate? Would you give an answer after the auction?
  8. The estimate seems very high for a Wulme-Hudson, even allowing for the fact that Tariso sales seem to attract high bids. I quite like the look of it, but then, I like a lot of strange things, so Is this one really so special? Rob
  9. Missunderstandings like, "why haven't you paid duty on that multi million $ object you've got stashed in your luggage" I won't be trying to avoid Frankfurt, because I live here, and I understand that if I'm trying to import something valuble into the EU (or anywhere else) I have to declare it. I've found that to be true everywhere from the US to the Congo.
  10. "I'm a little sad that Europe is a little bit more hostle than it seems. It makes me wonder why we're not all sitting in some European jail somewhere." You should try American border & customs officials if you think the European ones are hostile.
  11. robheys


    Sounds like you got a good deal, but judging from the auctions I've been to, youd've stuck out like a sore thumb dressed like that. Ooooh, I've got something in common with Roger Hargrave. I only stick to books though, because I can tell them apart. Unfortunately I don't have quite the same confidence with the violins. I've also been to enough auctions, and seen enough dealers at work there, to know that the odds are stacked against me. Rob PS. I'm glad you keep you morals so clean. I must get mine out and clean them one day, if only I could remember where I put them?
  12. robheys


    Nice article. So if I understood it correctly, it all started with Roger introducing poor Dietmar to that den of iniquity that is the London auction scene Rob
  13. robheys


    I personally wouldn't read too much conspiracy into the whole thing, I'm more a fan of the cock-up theory. His relationship with the OeNB for example I could imagine was more due to the fact that he was pretty much the only high profile native german-speaking violin dealer, and once he had made friends with the president of the bank no-one would question it (I don't think it would be very different in Germany). Once he got into a position like that doors would open for him everywhere in Austria, given their rather extreme respect for rank. While this may only be a whisker away from corruption, particularly given the OeNB is a public institution, it still falls short of conspiracy at the very top of society. I don't know how independent the Austrian Judiciary are, but if they are like the German ones I think we will hear a good deal about what really went on. Of course, it might not be quite as sensational as the headlines at the moment. For instance if the values in the press are based on Macholds own valuations we might expect the real sums to be less by a factor of about 10.
  14. robheys


    Thanks Jacob, Been missing the regular installments of the Machold Saga. It'll be interesting to see what (if anything) comes out in court. Regards Rob
  15. Very difficult to translate that properly Jacob. Just in the first paragraph I found one abreviation which has two possible, very different, meanings which could fit and I can't understand the use of "mahlen" at all. It dosn't seem to fit in any way, unless its Schwaebische or Oesterreischishe dialect. Rob