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Marie Brown

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" You will not see a nicer example of a Conn Wonder violin especially with such a low serial number. This violin is a great investment instrument "

I'll have to dig mine out and look - the serial number on this one is in the wrong place and it isn't anything near the style of my serial number. This instrument looks much too clean and new.

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" You will not see a nicer example of a Conn Wonder violin especially with such a low serial number. This violin is a great investment instrument "

I'll have to dig mine out and look - the serial number on this one is in the wrong place and it isn't anything near the style of my serial number. This instrument looks much too clean and new.

Maybe I missing something, but the auctioneer sent me photos of this violin and it's was dirty but obviously it cleaned up nicely.

However, I thought is was an exciting looking fiddle and I left a fat bid on it, but not fat enough!

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2007-5/1259352/DSC_0014.JPG

The violin market is soft. American violins are not selling for the same kind of money that they did 9 months ago.

And the Asia and European markets are only interested in a few US makers

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Maybe I missing something, but the auctioneer sent me photos of this violin and it's was dirty but obviously it cleaned up nicely.

However, I thought is was an exciting looking fiddle and I left a fat bid on it, but not fat enough!

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2007-5/1259352/DSC_0014.JPG

The violin market is soft. American violins are not selling for the same kind of money that they did 9 months ago.

And the Asia and European markets are only interested in a few US makers

Thanks for that photo Priya. My first timpression of the advertised violin was also that it was not what it claimed to be. As I looked closer I wasn't so sure, and still hadn't made up my mind until I saw your photos.

I think the flash photos are a big part of the problem; the photos are flattening out the textures and in general making it look like a new mid grade workshop fiddle.

I personally would have preferred a less vigorous approach to cleaning. It sure looks like someone polished it with something like rottonstone, pumice, micromesh or the like. I suppose that could just be the photos too, but...

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I had a Conn Wonder violin (although somewhat battered and without the original case) consigned in my shop several years ago. It was a very nicely made violin, every bit as nice as the better Markneukirchen (EH Roth, Heberlein, etc.) instruments. The $4800 price is certainly no bargain, but I don't think that it exceeds high retail either. And a real collector (as opposed to a dealer) would certainly covet that original case with the embroidered blanket.

Onree in Nebraska

There was an article about the Conn Wonder in the VSA Journal a few years ago, by Dr. Margaret Downie Banks, Curator of the Shrine to Music Museum.

"Violin Manufacturing by the Conn Company of Elkhart, Indiana," Journal of the Violin Society of America XI, No. 3 (1992): 20-76.

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Just out of curiosity, do you guys really think that fiddle's over 100 years old?

I look at the photo that was sent to Priya and see color values that are way off the mark, much too dark (I presume it was shot against white cardstock, not blue-ish grey).

In contrast, the antique store's photos seem to have values that are quite accurate - the purple liner looks like most others I've seen, and the charcoal grey outside of the case looks about right, as does the light maple bridge, etc, the dark grey carpeting background, etc.

If we assume that their values are indeed pretty accurate, then that blanket doesn't even begin to be a match for the liner. The blankets I've seen have always agreed with the liner - is that not other people's experience?

And finally we have the apparently flawless edges of the f-holes and the definitely flawless, glassy, mirror-like complexion of the table under and near the bridge - how could it have survived in that condition? If played, it would be a little beaten up around where the bridge feet massaged the varnish; if stuck in a closet and never played, why wouldn't we be seeing dessication cracks?

I can't see that being any 110yo instrument, nor can I believe that that blanket has anything to do with the case. Can anyone make a case (npi) for it being real?

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I could be off a few years but I think that Conn made these well into the 1920's along with lesser student versions. The felt tip inked serial number and pristine condition are red flags IMO.

I emailed Dr. Margaret Downie Banks twice concerning my Wonder Violin and never received a reply.

Here are a few pics of my Conn and label.......

post-5368-1219708602_thumb.jpg

post-5368-1219708682_thumb.jpg

post-5368-1219708710_thumb.jpg

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It cleaned up well, for sure.

It's when I look at that 'after' closeup of the bridge area, and realise I can see details of the reflectors of the lamps used to light it, that the words "mirror finish" seem almost inadequate. Trout's comment about the finish having been "improved" feels all too plausible. We can see from the edges that the finish wasn't originally, or not totally at least, mirror-smooth. But after, under the bridge? Yikes! Especially since in the "before" picture, we see that something was going on underneath the bridge feet. What happened to that during the "cleaning"?

Trout's serial number was written with a fountain or dip pen, which is what you'd expect for a fiddle of that age. As to Priya's, I thought maybe a Speedball point (they go back to 1915), but the strokes on the label don't look regular enough to me. It definitely looks done with a marker of some kind.

I'd also be interested to know what the story is on the abrupt color change we see up by the treble shoulder and along the fingerboard on that side. It's kind of obscured by the changing values in the various photos, but it's evident if looked for. We have a golden base overlaid with red - but why does the red have almost a masked-off appearance next to the fingerboard?

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