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Celso Franchi-- does anybody know of him?


bongeo
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I recently bought a gorgeous violin by Celso Franchi on eBay. The violin appears to be original, and it is exquisitely made and sounds wonderful. I can't find any info on this luthier except that he was born in Ravenna in 1905 and flourished as a luthier between 1922 and 1965. Does anyone know where I can find out more about him? Google has almost nothing. I have no idea what this lovely violin is worth, either. If there are any experts out there on contemporary Italian luthiers who might know about Franchi, I would really appreciate hearing from them.

Thanks,

Bonnie

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  • 10 months later...
I recently bought a gorgeous violin by Celso Franchi on eBay. The violin appears to be original, and it is exquisitely made and sounds wonderful. I can't find any info on this luthier except that he was born in Ravenna in 1905 and flourished as a luthier between 1922 and 1965. Does anyone know where I can find out more about him? Google has almost nothing. I have no idea what this lovely violin is worth, either. If there are any experts out there on contemporary Italian luthiers who might know about Franchi, I would really appreciate hearing from them.

Thanks,

Bonnie

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I finally found a photo online of Celso Franchi and a lot of other workers at an Italian construction company in the 1930's. He had a day job, and made violins in his spare time at this point in his life. I can't find out anything else about him, except that he made some very good guitars. Still hoping that someone has heard of him and can give me some more info on him. I sold the violin he made and got a good price for it. It went to a promising high school student with serious musical ambition. She loves it. I wish I could tell her more about it.

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I finally found a photo online of Celso Franchi and a lot of other workers at an Italian construction company in the 1930's. He had a day job, and made violins in his spare time at this point in his life. I can't find out anything else about him, except that he made some very good guitars. Still hoping that someone has heard of him and can give me some more info on him. I sold the violin he made and got a good price for it. It went to a promising high school student with serious musical ambition. She loves it. I wish I could tell her more about it.

Introduce a high school student to the nasty world of violin forgery? Hmm... that's a toughie.

If the violin is a gem, let it be what it is. Alexander Markov tells you so.

Good job on finding a quality instrument, however. That's a hard thing to do what with all these violins floating around.

The maker is likely fabricated like many geigenmacher names. They take popular words or surnames and just merge a couple together... Francisco Troiani... voila!

The origins of the violin will remain unknown for now.

"Appears to be original"-- please post a photo next time you have an instrument that the seller claims to be an original. It could very well be an original trade violin, no doubt.

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I recently bought a gorgeous violin by Celso Franchi on eBay. The violin appears to be original, and it is exquisitely made and sounds wonderful. I can't find any info on this luthier except that he was born in Ravenna in 1905 and flourished as a luthier between 1922 and 1965. Does anyone know where I can find out more about him? Google has almost nothing. I have no idea what this lovely violin is worth, either. If there are any experts out there on contemporary Italian luthiers who might know about Franchi, I would really appreciate hearing from them.

Thanks,

Bonnie

There is a listing for him in the "Liutai Italiani di Ieri e di Oggi" by Gualtiero Nicolini, p. 202 with a photograph also. He is or was a follower of the Cremonese school. His varnish is yellow-orange. The only question that arises is whether the instrument is actually by him. Ebay is a treacherous place to buy a violin which is represented as Italian.

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I finally found a photo online of Celso Franchi and a lot of other workers at an Italian construction company in the 1930's. He had a day job, and made violins in his spare time at this point in his life. I can't find out anything else about him, except that he made some very good guitars. Still hoping that someone has heard of him and can give me some more info on him. I sold the violin he made and got a good price for it. It went to a promising high school student with serious musical ambition. She loves it. I wish I could tell her more about it.

Celso Franchi certainly did exist and is listed in the following publications:

"Dictionnaire Universel des Luthiers" by René Vannes - p.112 - illustration of label dated 1929 - birth date Ravenna, , 13 Feb 1905 - publ. 1951

"Dictionary of 20th Century Italian Violinmakers" by Marlin Brinser - p.38 gives dates 1905 - 1940 - publ. 1978

"Labels, Addresses and Signatures of 20th Century Italian Violinmakers" by Marlin Brinser - p.6 label illustrated - publ. 1980

"Liutai di Ieri e di Oggi" by Gualtiero Nicolini - p.128-129 only birthdate 1905 and B/W illustration of violin dated 1935 - publ. 1982

"Liuteria Moderna in Emilia-Romagna" ("Modern Violinmaking in the Emilia-Romagna Region") by Artemio Versari - p.248-249 violin 1925 illustrated color, born Ravenna, 13 Feb 1905 - died Ravenna, 21 July 1997 - publ. 2002

None of this however proves that the violin you have or sold was by made by Celso Franchi. Many people like our fellow Maestronetter ffs have good reason to be skeptical about these minor makers as real names and invented names have been and are still being abused in the name of easy profit. If someone says "it looks like it and could be old enough so it must be a Celso Franchi, because who would want to falsify or copy a Celso Franchi?" you are practicing what we in the profession call "enthusiastic expertise". You want it to be that, therefore it IS exactly that; why not!?!? It would be a good idea to be a little more prudent about purchases on e-bay and then make sales with a profit to others or one day the whole thing could backfire.

ffs is right about the false names too. One that comes to mind immediately is the photographer we had for the 1987 Stradivari Exhibition catalog; Claudio Mazzolari. He has never made a violin in his life and yet I have seen advertised instruments using his name. One of the most flagrant is the name Massimo Guadagno, translated from the Italian means (MAXIMUM PROFIT!!!). One of our former workmen found an instrument at auction with his name in it! He didn't make it!!! The list goes on.......

Photographs of the violin would be interesting to see but personally I refuse to write certificates having only seen photographs.

Bruce

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So far, I have not been able to find out much of anything about Celso Franchi. The violin was perfectly beautfiul and had a rich, full, mellow sound with excellent projection--a soloist's instrument. If I were big enough to play it (I'm not), I would have kept it. I play a 3/4 because I am so tiny. I didn't rip off the student's parents, I assure you. This was a truly outstanding violin. The student is thrilled with it. I'm sure it will take her through college and into a professional career, if she intends to play professionally. To find a better sound, you would have to go into the $10,00-$20,000 range, which is nowhere near what I charge for my violins. I charge in the hundreds, not the thousands, because I live along the Gulf Coast, where almost everyone was financially impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and most people are still having problems restoring their homes and belongings. So I haven't overcharged a student or her parents. This violin was worth a lot more than I got for it, which is par for the course for me. I simply can't charge a lot, or I would never sell an instrument. My clientele is suffering financially.

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So far, I have not been able to find out much of anything about Celso Franchi. The violin was perfectly beautfiul and had a rich, full, mellow sound with excellent projection--a soloist's instrument. If I were big enough to play it (I'm not), I would have kept it. I play a 3/4 because I am so tiny. I didn't rip off the student's parents, I assure you. This was a truly outstanding violin. The student is thrilled with it. I'm sure it will take her through college and into a professional career, if she intends to play professionally. To find a better sound, you would have to go into the $10,00-$20,000 range, which is nowhere near what I charge for my violins. I charge in the hundreds, not the thousands, because I live along the Gulf Coast, where almost everyone was financially impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and most people are still having problems restoring their homes and belongings. So I haven't overcharged a student or her parents. This violin was worth a lot more than I got for it, which is par for the course for me. I simply can't charge a lot, or I would never sell an instrument. My clientele is suffering financially.

I don't think that anyone is accusing you of ripping off anyone. Your purchase price from E-Bay or the sale price to the student have not been mentioned. It is not necessary to the discussion.

The point was, did Celso Franchi really exist and if so, what does one of his instruments look like and is it possible that it could be authentic. If it is not possible to determine the provenance of the instrument, for as absurd as it may seem, the value must necessarily remain low.

You are confusing a good sounding, good looking and ANONYMOUS instrument with a good sounding and good looking instrument by a known 20th century Italian maker. It is not the same thing from a point of valuation.

Bruce

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So far, I have not been able to find out much of anything about Celso Franchi. The violin was perfectly beautfiul and had a rich, full, mellow sound with excellent projection--a soloist's instrument. If I were big enough to play it (I'm not), I would have kept it. I play a 3/4 because I am so tiny. I didn't rip off the student's parents, I assure you. This was a truly outstanding violin. The student is thrilled with it. I'm sure it will take her through college and into a professional career, if she intends to play professionally. To find a better sound, you would have to go into the $10,00-$20,000 range, which is nowhere near what I charge for my violins. I charge in the hundreds, not the thousands, because I live along the Gulf Coast, where almost everyone was financially impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and most people are still having problems restoring their homes and belongings. So I haven't overcharged a student or her parents. This violin was worth a lot more than I got for it, which is par for the course for me. I simply can't charge a lot, or I would never sell an instrument. My clientele is suffering financially.

If you were able to purchase this violin and resell it to your student for under $1000 you and your student both got a bargain. Yes, there are still bargains to be had on eBay, not many, but they do exist.

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If you were able to purchase this violin and resell it to your student for under $1000 you and your student both got a bargain. Yes, there are still bargains to be had on eBay, not many, but they do exist.

++++++++++++++++

A label is just a piece of paper with something printed on it. I don't buy a violin by its label.

Two of my favorite violins that I bought are without labels. The previous owners or their luthiers

thought the labels were jokes, so they were removed.

Any way, not every maker is a great maker just like not every golfer is a Tiger Wood.

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++++++++++++++++

A label is just a piece of paper with something printed on it. I don't buy a violin by its label.

Two of my favorite violins that I bought are without labels. The previous owners or their luthiers

thought the labels were jokes, so they were removed.

Any way, not every maker is a great maker just like not every golfer is a Tiger Wood.

My violin is unlabeled except for a stamp that says it was made in Mittenwald for Lewis & Son. No date, no maker, just a number, #115 and a size, 3/4. This violin sounds superb, and I got it for $37 on eBay last year. I have never heard any other 3/4 that came close to the incredible sound that this little violin produces. I have no idea who made it, because the records of the Conn Company, which bought Lewis & Son, don't go back to turn of the century, when this violin was made. Some anonymous genius made it. I couldn't believe my luck when I got it. I don't care about its market value, which is probably pretty low, under $1000. What I care about is the sound, which is so enchanting that I can't put my violin down. I practice like a fiend because I want to hear that sound in my ear all day. If you didn't know that this was a 3/4, you would swear you were listening to an excellent 4/4 Strad copy. So I understand perfectly why the label can be irrelevant. It's the sound that counts, in my opinion.

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I recently bought a gorgeous violin by Celso Franchi on eBay. The violin appears to be original, and it is exquisitely made and sounds wonderful. I can't find any info on this luthier except that he was born in Ravenna in 1905 and flourished as a luthier between 1922 and 1965. Does anyone know where I can find out more about him? Google has almost nothing. I have no idea what this lovely violin is worth, either. If there are any experts out there on contemporary Italian luthiers who might know about Franchi, I would really appreciate hearing from them.

Thanks,

Bonnie

Sorry to have to give you bad news, Bonnie. You sold that nice promising high school student a fake Chinese violin that is worth next to nothing.

If you have the student take it to any reputable violin shop , they will give them the sad news.

Unfortunately, that violin has never been to Italy or even near Italy.

Perhaps you could write back and explain why you would expect to buy a valuable old Italian violin for a fraction of it's value on Ebay?

Do you also have a Rolex watch that you bought on Ebay for $50?

If you do, I am also sorry to have to inform you that it is a fake, too!

Are you possibly in the market for a good deal on a bridge in Brooklyn New York?

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Without having see the instrument in hand, I don't think that we can say if the instrument is or is not by the maker whose name is on the label. Yes, it is true there is a lot of skull-duggery on eBay by those who are not honest or simply by those sellers who simply do not know what they are selling. Sometimes we can tell simply by who the seller is, as there are those who intentionally misrepresent on a regular basis.

The higher grade Chinese instruments present a particular problem as they are very well made and do represent Italian and French instruments and they get better each year. If the instruments was purchased reasonably , sounds good, is in good condition, then the label is meaningless and it sounds to me as though the buyer made a good purchase. It should also be noted that there are bricks and mortar violin shops which pull the same labeling shenanigans.

Recently there was a seller who usually sells paintings and other antiques who was offering a few Italian violins or so it seemed, for prices which were comparable to what the big violin houses were charging. They appeared to be old commercially made violins. When I e mailed the seller to find out what type of certification those instruments had, I got no response.

There was recently a seller who was offering a J.B. Vuillaume stating that it had two certificates of authenticity, but the names of the certifiers were not given. Those are the kind of eBay dealings to be avoided.

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Sorry to have to give you bad news, Bonnie. You sold that nice promising high school student a fake Chinese violin that is worth next to nothing.

If you have the student take it to any reputable violin shop , they will give them the sad news.

Unfortunately, that violin has never been to Italy or even near Italy.

Perhaps you could write back and explain why you would expect to buy a valuable old Italian violin for a fraction of it's value on Ebay?

Do you also have a Rolex watch that you bought on Ebay for $50?

If you do, I am also sorry to have to inform you that it is a fake, too!

Are you possibly in the market for a good deal on a bridge in Brooklyn New York?

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Dracula, the student's father is a lawyer. They took the violin to an appraiser, who told them it was worth at least $2500, which is a whole lot more than they paid for it. Sometimes, people will sell something that they don't have a clue about. This violin did not come from eBay. I don't buy my watches on eBay, either. And I'm not stupid. Nor am I rude to other people who post on this forum. Grow up, Drac. Being nasty to unseen people over the Internet is the lowest form of cowardice. Besides, I'm only 4'9" tall and I'm a girl. Pick on someone your own size, who can confront you in person.

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Bonnie,

Were you able to locate any of the books I listed back in Post #7 on this thread? You keep saying that you don't have any information on Celso Franchi. In these books are photographs of his instruments and brief biographies.

Bruce

I repeat the bibliography below:

Celso Franchi certainly did exist and is listed in the following publications:

"Dictionnaire Universel des Luthiers" by René Vannes - p.112 - illustration of label dated 1929 - birth date Ravenna, , 13 Feb 1905 - publ. 1951

"Dictionary of 20th Century Italian Violinmakers" by Marlin Brinser - p.38 gives dates 1905 - 1940 - publ. 1978

"Labels, Addresses and Signatures of 20th Century Italian Violinmakers" by Marlin Brinser - p.6 label illustrated - publ. 1980

"Liutai di Ieri e di Oggi" by Gualtiero Nicolini - p.128-129 only birthdate 1905 and B/W illustration of violin dated 1935 - publ. 1982

"Liuteria Moderna in Emilia-Romagna" ("Modern Violinmaking in the Emilia-Romagna Region") by Artemio Versari - p.248-249 violin 1925 illustrated color, born Ravenna, 13 Feb 1905 - died Ravenna, 21 July 1997 - publ. 2002

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Dracula, the student's father is a lawyer. They took the violin to an appraiser, who told them it was worth at least $2500, which is a whole lot more than they paid for it. Sometimes, people will sell something that they don't have a clue about. This violin did not come from eBay. I don't buy my watches on eBay, either. And I'm not stupid. Nor am I rude to other people who post on this forum. Grow up, Drac. Being nasty to unseen people over the Internet is the lowest form of cowardice. Besides, I'm only 4'9" tall and I'm a girl. Pick on someone your own size, who can confront you in person.

But Bonnie, don't you say in the first email that the violin came from eBay? That's why people are skeptical. The value estimate by the violin shop also seems to indicate an insurance valuation for a workshop violin rather than the price of a handmade Italian violin. Drac shouldn't be mean to you. The violin may well sound great and may well be old. I've seen plenty of old German or Czech violins with Italian labels so it doesn't have to be Chinese (although good Chinese violins often sound a heck of a lot better than old German or French violins). The violin could also be authentically Italian but a lots of things are pointing in other directions and that is what Drac is reacting too.

I'm glad you like your 3/4 violin. I'm also a small violinist but play a no-name 7/8ther. Someday I hope to commission a smallish full size violin!

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Bonnie,

Were you able to locate any of the books I listed back in Post #7 on this thread? You keep saying that you don't have any information on Celso Franchi. In these books are photographs of his instruments and brief biographies.

Bruce

I repeat the bibliography below:

Celso Franchi certainly did exist and is listed in the following publications:

"Dictionnaire Universel des Luthiers" by René Vannes - p.112 - illustration of label dated 1929 - birth date Ravenna, , 13 Feb 1905 - publ. 1951

"Dictionary of 20th Century Italian Violinmakers" by Marlin Brinser - p.38 gives dates 1905 - 1940 - publ. 1978

"Labels, Addresses and Signatures of 20th Century Italian Violinmakers" by Marlin Brinser - p.6 label illustrated - publ. 1980

"Liutai di Ieri e di Oggi" by Gualtiero Nicolini - p.128-129 only birthdate 1905 and B/W illustration of violin dated 1935 - publ. 1982

"Liuteria Moderna in Emilia-Romagna" ("Modern Violinmaking in the Emilia-Romagna Region") by Artemio Versari - p.248-249 violin 1925 illustrated color, born Ravenna, 13 Feb 1905 - died Ravenna, 21 July 1997 - publ. 2002

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I live in an area where library resources are scarce. So I wasn't able to find any of these books. I have tried online to find them, but I haven't been able to find any of your sources. Thank you for supplying them. I have copied your response and I will be able to get more information when I visit my family in the Boston area. At least I now have a birth and death date for this luthier.

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But Bonnie, don't you say in the first email that the violin came from eBay? That's why people are skeptical. The value estimate by the violin shop also seems to indicate an insurance valuation for a workshop violin rather than the price of a handmade Italian violin. Drac shouldn't be mean to you. The violin may well sound great and may well be old. I've seen plenty of old German or Czech violins with Italian labels so it doesn't have to be Chinese (although good Chinese violins often sound a heck of a lot better than old German or French violins). The violin could also be authentically Italian but a lots of things are pointing in other directions and that is what Drac is reacting too.

I'm glad you like your 3/4 violin. I'm also a small violinist but play a no-name 7/8ther. Someday I hope to commission a smallish full size violin!

I was wrong about where the violin came from. I had bought several violins in eBay (and they were all decent student quality violins) and I had gotten confused about where this one came from. I bought it from a local seller, who knew a friend who knew I was in the market for any local violins of good quality. My notes about this violin were wrong, and I mindlessly typed the mistake when I first posted my request on this forum for any information about the maker. I didn't bother to correct the error because it didn't seem important at the time. The seller knew nothing about Franchi. The violins I get on eBay came from two sellers with whom I have done some business since. I have had good luck with both of these sellers--no lemons from either of them. If you don't think you are buying some rare treasure for $200 on eBay, and you are objective about what you are looking at, you can find some nice older instruments at reasonable prices.

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I live in an area where library resources are scarce. So I wasn't able to find any of these books. I have tried online to find them, but I haven't been able to find any of your sources. Thank you for supplying them. I have copied your response and I will be able to get more information when I visit my family in the Boston area. At least I now have a birth and death date for this luthier.

It's true that most of these books might be difficult to find in a local library. One of the bigger shops in Boston, for example Chris Reuning, should have all or some of them. Let us know how it comes out.

Bruce

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finding out something about Franchi, as noted, does not tie the violin to the maker.

Of course now that the owner has relented that there's even ANY connection to Franchi, it's all rather moot.

But, Franchi is listed in Henley...a very unobscure reference work.

Known to have auctioned for $1405.

franchi.jpg

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Finding out something about Franchi, as noted, does not tie the violin to the maker.

Of course now that the owner has relented that there's even ANY connection to Franchi, it's all rather moot.

But, Franchi is listed in Henley...a very unobscure reference work.

Known to have auctioned for $1405.

franchi.jpg

There is no copy of Henley available here in Ocean Springs, MS or any of the surrounding libraries. It may not be an obscure reference work, but it is not here in Mississippi. As I said earlier, I will find these references when I can visit my family in the Boston area, where there are wonderful libraries. I got considerably less than $1405 for the violin. Nobody here will pay in the vicinity of $1000 for a violin. The ticket inside looked exactly like the first one you included in your post, except with a different date. Thank you for your assistance.

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