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help with info on this fiddle - J. Holmes, M. Darnton, and others???


crystal
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Hi guys.

I asked this question about three years ago when I acquired this fiddle. At that time, I got no info about it. I have since tried to do more research on this maker, but I have found nothing. I am hoping that someone can shed some more light on my fiddle.

I purchased it for $1100.00. I was told that it looks like an English copy of a Guarneri. The label says Ferdinando Leoni, Parma, 18??. I can't read it. I know that this maker is listed in the list of violin makers, but what I can't find is any other violins. I have asked many violin shops, and researched auction sheets, etc, and cannot find this maker listed. I take it that Mr. Leoni did not make very many violins. Of course, if mine is a copy, then it could have been made by anyone correct?

My violin is a medium to dark brown, not high gloss at all. It has a birdseye back. It looks quite aged and has seen alot of playing time. I just wish I could know more about it. I'd appreciate any help if anyone has any other resources that they could check.

Merry Christmas.

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fwiw Henley has this to say about this maker:

Leoni, Ferdinando.

Worked at Parma,1812-1820. Instruments showing an exactitude of

form an precision of arching strictly imitative of Amati model in

its minutest detail, but for some unaccountable reason none have a

fine quality of tone. 90pounds, 1960.

---------------------------

Ferdinando Leoni

Parmae, 1816

---------------------------

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Honestly never seen an instrument by that maker... Unfortunately, it's just about the perfect kind of label (a little or unknown Italian listed in at least one text) to put into an unknown (or known) fiddle to give it just that little bit of Italian mystery...

Can't help without photos, I'm afraid... and even with them, I would guess the instrument probably has little to do with that label... and may or may not be able to be IDed.

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I'm in the same situation as Jeffrey. I'm not even sure the maker exists, in spite of a listing in a book. Almost all violin dictionaries are compiled with the idea of getting as many names as possible, without regard to accuracy, and a lot of questionable things show up. Plus, for well over 100 years dealers put made up names in violins to sell them (and this still happens).

Is that your violin in the Elderly listing? That one doesn't remind me of anything at the moment.

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Yes, that is my violin in the Elderly listing. I purchased it about 3 years ago. The pictures of it on my computer are very orangey-red. But the violin is not at all like that. It's really a medium brown to dark brown, but not the least bit orange or red. The picture does not do the violin justice; it really is quite an attractive violin, even if it doesn't have the greatest sound. The birdseye maple back is also very pretty. As far as sound, I don't know what sounds good or what sounds bad. I wish I could figure that out. I think it sounds good. I'm going to see if I can have Michael Weller set it up for an even better sound. Once I can identify the violin sound that I'm looking for, I'll try to find a violin like that.

Thank you for all your help.

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when you find the sound that you're loking for, you'll know it...if you like this violin though, stick with it...you have had several posts up about buying a violin in the 6-10k range, plus some posts about bows...if I were you, and were in no big (emotional) hurry, I would stick with what I had, bide my time, keep my ears open, listen and learn, and then go shopping.

remember that the fiddle maketh not the player (of course it doesn't hurt either)

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