I've been reading Maestronet for years and finally have a question. A new student of mine purchased a few years ago a violin labeled Carlos Despini, fecit Taurini anno 1879 (from my memory). The varnish is more red than most instruments. They purchased from a former teacher for about 20k USD. They asked me what I thought of it and I said it was alright, decent instrument, and then they told me the price...they claim they negotiated with the former teacher for many years on the purchase price. A luthier from France, told me it's likely a French instrument (we both agree the price was acceptable for the local market).
anyway, I was recently speaking with them about purchasing a new viola, since the student has all but abandoned the violin (and has in fact won some international competitions on viola), but they were very opposed to selling the violin. They told me the previous teacher "spent" about 34k USD about seventeen years ago on the violin and had "done them a favor." It all sounded like nonsense. When I saw the paperwork I saw:
1) A Certificate of Authenticity by Machold, with stamp
2) A pamphlet with pictures and information on the violin
3) A receipt for 34k USD (in the local currency, which I won't reveal) that states it was paid in cash, no stamp
I told them a letter of authenticity by M was essentially glorified toilet paper, but I would like to know:
#1 Was Carlos Despini a legitimate maker of Turin, or just a name used by French makers/factories? (Yes, I know not to believe the labels, but I'm just curious if he was real at all or not because I've yet to find any records online for this name beyond pathetic auction sales).
#2 "paid in cash"...on an unstamped receipt for a considerably large some of money (circa 2000-2001). Could have been inflated by M for insurance purposes, and/or with posterity in mind (i.e. The original purchaser expected to sell it for a sigunificant profit and use this "receipt" to claim a false value)? ...or used for tax purposes?