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reepicheep

Ebay Squier

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Chris,

Is anyone keeping a database of Squiers?

Do you have any idea how many are currently known?

Even though I'm British, I feel that violins by Squier, the Whites, Hyde and a couple of others should be considered part of American national heritage and logged accordingly. (No, I'm not volunteering for the job but maybe someone has already started).

Glenn

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I find it interesting that the seller appears to both assert and disclaim the authenticity (response to second question, where he suggests that a novice purchaser should focus on fiddles where the seller will allow a return). That's a good trick!

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In fact there were two bids entered in the last minute.

The American bid was placed 51 seconds before the end and it was pushed up to $3050 by an Australian bidder in the last four seconds. So it isn't always the final sniper who wins.

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Is it a Squier, though, Glenn? We have the evidence of Jesse's acquaintance who says he knows that particular fiddle.

And then there's the cheek decorations. If the fiddle is German or Polish I can understand the flower motives--there's a thread of appreciation for flowers and nature in those cultures that cuts across time and social standing. But in the machine-age US of the late 1880s? Why would anyone be so avant garde as to use an emerging Art Nouveau/Jugendstil motive in a field that's so tradition-valuing as lutherie? In the 1880s Egyptian motives were hot because of the excavations, and Gothic was still strong...but AN/Jugendstil was European and barely on the horizon. I'd think for an American (or Briton) working at that time to use such a floral motive would seem as strange as if someone today gratuitously decorated cheeks with relief carvings of, oh, faeries.

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As I am not a nice guy like Chris, I refrain from commenting on live auctions. In addition to the purfling and pins Chris mentions, the f holes are definitely a pattern Squier used. No I haven't seen a decorated scroll like that, but the decoration seems different than the German ones I've seen, and the volute seems plausible for Squier. All in all, as long as there aren't any nasty surprises, a reasonable deal at $3k, though more than I'd gamble without having the fiddle in hand or without Jesse's return policy.

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Both Andy and Chris are a lifetime more expert than I am. The closer I looked at the photos, the more I concluded that the only thing that I have a problem with is the scroll decoration. As Andy and Chris capably pointed out, the consistancies far exceed the inconsistancies. My aquaintance was offered this violin several times by different folks over the past 15 years-its unique and not easily mistaken. He didn't care for it, or feel it was genuine, but that doesn't mean it isn't what it is purported to be. He didn't think so, but apparently he was mistaken. I don't have enough confidence yet to offer a definative opinion on much, so I am limited to repeating hearsay and gladly defer to those whose opinions actually count.

Jesse

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Even without a liberal return policy or needed restorations, the violin did pretty well.

Which makes me wonder, does a return policy on Ebay actually help a violin reach it's maximum price?

It seems to foster self doubt more than confidence. During the trial period when the buyer brings the fiddle to a dealers shop

for an "unbaised" opinion, the shop is now in such a great position. The doubting buyer is ripe for words of discouragement and the clock is running, the return policy window of opportunity is closing out. So instead of trying to adjust the violin to the players needs the money is in turning the buyer.

So now for the Squier buyer, whose deal is done, will have the varnished retouched and the adjustments made to his personal satisfaction by his local dealer.

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Hi Bean, I don't have expertise approaching that of Chris and Andy but I do own a Squier and have seen several and my position was, and still is, that there seems little reason to doubt the authenticity of this violin but note should be taken of two factors:

1. The scroll is 'unusual' for a Squier although the quality of execution indicates a fine maker rather than a factory. Bear in mind that each of us today may have seen many such scrolls but in the 1880s, a maker in America might live a lifetime without seeing one and therefore consider that decoration novel, exotic and worthy or copying. (JB was a great copyist).

2. You pointed to the dubious nature of the label and you might be right about that but any label should only be a secondary consideration when assessing a violin.

3. Photos give a very incomplete story and none of us feels comfortable putting our heads on the block (or our money) without handling the item.

I think the price paid was on the high side taking these concerns into account and given the condition of the varnish but I have written to the buyer seeking his/her thoughts and intentions for the violin but have so far received no reply.

Glenn

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