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Hi there. Ive been trying to find out a bit more about the Imperial line of violins. From what I could find, there are 2 different lines of these. One being German, and one being Japanese. Imperial violins have the flat shield-shaped piece of wood on the back of the scroll, with the words Imperial Violin written on. My question is, how do you tell the 2 types apart? How do I know if it is German, or Japanese. Ive seen a few pictures online, found about 3-4 Imperial Violins on Ebay in about 2 years, but I cannot seem to find anything consistant to it. A friend of mine has a Imperial violin, and what a lovely violin that is!!! It's sound is completely different from any other trade violin that Ive played on. Very loud (not in a bad way), warm, open with that "Old" wood sound to it, and it is extremely responsive. You hardly even have to touch the strings for it to make a lovely sound. Unfortunately I only have one crappy picture of it (Which I will post below), but I can describe it a bit more. 1. the violin has been revarnished (Terrible, I know, If only I knew what it looked like before it had been done!) 2. the purfling is VERY close to the edges. Much closer than usual. 3. the neck is much thinner, and the violin seems to be smaller aswell. Not 7/8 small, but a smaller 4/4 scale violin. 4. the label says Antonius Stradiuarius etc etc (The usual), and then underneath Made in Germany. This is what Im wondering about. Non of the other 4 imperial violins I saw online had the name of the place where it was made written on the label. 5. The violin has, on the back of the scroll, that shield piece, with a star-like logo, and written on Imperial Violin. 6. It is a lovely flamed one-piece back. 7. On the scroll it doesnt say the model it is based on, like some others Ive seen. Now what I meant earlier about not finding consistant things to these violins, is that some of the imperial violins Ive seen says on the back of the scroll what model it is. For instance: Imperal Violin Amati. or Imperial Violin Stradivarius. Only in this one case (My friend's violin), does it have the star on the scroll. Ive seen one other violin on Ebay that had the Star/sun shape on the button of the violin, and read about someone who says they also have that on their Imperial violin. One of the pictures Ive attached below says Lowendall Imperial violin. From what I read, they were made at his shop or sold by him or something. Again, inconsistant to other pictures ive found, since only this one says Lowendall Imperial Violin. Does someone perhaps have anymore info on these Imperial Violins? I read a few years back they usually either sound great, or terrible. No middle ground. Also about the purfling being so close to the edges that it seems to almost "jump" off. This is an ebay auction that ended today for a imperial violin. I wanted to buy it, but the seller didnt respond to my shipping cost question.. http://www.ebay.com/itm/IMPERIAL-ANTIQUE-VINTAGE-VIOLIN-23-5-STRING-MUSICAL-INSTRUMENT-/321162156569?ViewItem=&ssPageName=ADME%3AX%3AAAQ%3AUS%3A1123&item=321162156569&nma=true&si=yU3KHiltiFvT3XOMmkiACl67zvQ%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557 (on the 5th picture, look at the button to see the sun-shaped carving) Below I will attach some pictures I found online, aswell as the one my friend plays. Again, sorry I dont have a better picture. The first one is the one that my friend plays. Only the first picture. Notice the purfling. Thank You for reading.