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"Violiniada" ebay seller...to good to be true?


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The question of whether something is too good to be true is, in and of itself, a great warning system. If something looks too good to be the real thing, it usually is.

When someone puts in the language of "labeled by" in a violin desription it is really a question of ethics and fraud for a jury to decide. The reason why I say that is because if someone were selling a violin on eBay and listed it as 'labeled Antonius Stradivarius", most every court would see that as clearly a copy because of common knowledge and the price difference between a real Strad and a fake is obvious. However, using the names of more obscure luthiers and putting the language of 'labeled by' in the description, especially when it is followed with things as 'sounds like a $50,000 violin, can be skirting fraud. When I see anytime in an auction the word "labeled by " it gives me great concern. A jury would have to decide if the description was written in a way to purposely mislead buyers. My instinct says if a generic violin labeled with the name of a lesser known but talented luthier who has passed is generating bids into the thousands consistently for a seller, then I have to say that it appears to be fraudulent. The protection of 'caveat emptor' is a really poor defense especially when the language used was sketchy. If a seller knows that the violin is not by the actual maker than state that up front. By expecting a buyer to figure it out because there is a sibtle difference between labeled by and made by is now truly splitting hairs and as a seller you should be ashamed of yourself. Let's face it, if I was going to spend $7,000 on a violin that was only a label, I can save a whole lot of money and label it myself. If, as a seller, you justify this as something the buyer should have figured out, I do hope one day you are in need of a criminal attorney.

Frankly, I think for years there have been some who have taken advantage of buyers iwth unscrupulous tactics like 'labeled by' or calling a violin a composite or saying that it is attributed to a certain maker. Recently I saw a bow that was not stamped but was attributed to Peccate and was selling at $30,000. For that sort of money I think that the ask on that bow justified by attributing the bow to a famous maker is crazy. We can make things in our own head sound better or purer if we believe that they are genuine even if they are not.

As only one opinion, I think this brings up another issue of polling people in an internet forum when one is about to buy a violin or bow. The voices of dissent fill cyber space with - "pernambuco is superior to carbon fiber, so and so is a better maker than this one, or I am looking for a violin in the 15 to 20k range or all Chinese fiddles are inferior and on and on. Actually, my advice is if you like it, it is the right choice. To have someone rain on your parade se thebecause they once held a violin from Asia that wasn't particularly good and therefore now feels compelled to voice with authority that all violins from Asia are terrible is doing the opinion searcher a huge injustice. Or they heard that carbon fiber is inferior to pernambuco and perpetuate it allows for this myth to become interpreted as fact. There are some pernambuco bows that cannot hold a cnadle to some CF bows and of course vice versa. It is this kind of change resistant thinking that fraudulent buyers lick their chops over.

I would just advise others to be very careful out there and make inquiry as to who is reputable and pass up the too good to be true opportunities unless you are absolutely sure or can protect your transaction.

Emil

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  • 6 months later...
The question of whether something is too good to be true is, in and of itself, a great warning system. If something looks too good to be the real thing, it usually is.

When someone puts in the language of "labeled by" in a violin desription it is really a question of ethics and fraud for a jury to decide. The reason why I say that is because if someone were selling a violin on eBay and listed it as 'labeled Antonius Stradivarius", most every court would see that as clearly a copy because of common knowledge and the price difference between a real Strad and a fake is obvious. However, using the names of more obscure luthiers and putting the language of 'labeled by' in the description, especially when it is followed with things as 'sounds like a $50,000 violin, can be skirting fraud. When I see anytime in an auction the word "labeled by " it gives me great concern. A jury would have to decide if the description was written in a way to purposely mislead buyers. My instinct says if a generic violin labeled with the name of a lesser known but talented luthier who has passed is generating bids into the thousands consistently for a seller, then I have to say that it appears to be fraudulent. The protection of 'caveat emptor' is a really poor defense especially when the language used was sketchy. If a seller knows that the violin is not by the actual maker than state that up front. By expecting a buyer to figure it out because there is a sibtle difference between labeled by and made by is now truly splitting hairs and as a seller you should be ashamed of yourself. Let's face it, if I was going to spend $7,000 on a violin that was only a label, I can save a whole lot of money and label it myself. If, as a seller, you justify this as something the buyer should have figured out, I do hope one day you are in need of a criminal attorney.

Frankly, I think for years there have been some who have taken advantage of buyers iwth unscrupulous tactics like 'labeled by' or calling a violin a composite or saying that it is attributed to a certain maker. Recently I saw a bow that was not stamped but was attributed to Peccate and was selling at $30,000. For that sort of money I think that the ask on that bow justified by attributing the bow to a famous maker is crazy. We can make things in our own head sound better or purer if we believe that they are genuine even if they are not.

As only one opinion, I think this brings up another issue of polling people in an internet forum when one is about to buy a violin or bow. The voices of dissent fill cyber space with - "pernambuco is superior to carbon fiber, so and so is a better maker than this one, or I am looking for a violin in the 15 to 20k range or all Chinese fiddles are inferior and on and on. Actually, my advice is if you like it, it is the right choice. To have someone rain on your parade se thebecause they once held a violin from Asia that wasn't particularly good and therefore now feels compelled to voice with authority that all violins from Asia are terrible is doing the opinion searcher a huge injustice. Or they heard that carbon fiber is inferior to pernambuco and perpetuate it allows for this myth to become interpreted as fact. There are some pernambuco bows that cannot hold a cnadle to some CF bows and of course vice versa. It is this kind of change resistant thinking that fraudulent buyers lick their chops over.

I would just advise others to be very careful out there and make inquiry as to who is reputable and pass up the too good to be true opportunities unless you are absolutely sure or can protect your transaction.

Emil

"Labeled by" is a common and legitimate practice in all reputable auction houses it usually means that violin dealers and auctioneers are not taking the rap for unscrupulous workshops,makers or dealers, it is basically a way of saying that the fiddle is not (almost certainly) by the maker on the label.It could not be simpler.If the fiddle is authentic they say, "by" (you get very few of these on ebay).This is not fraud ,the problem nearly always lies with the buyer who can't resist trying to get something for nothing.

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  • 2 months later...
Hi all, just wondering what some learned luthier types think of this sellers violins. I have googled the seller and found he is a wonderful and well schooled player, but not a luthier. His violin descriptions are all a little too identical and I am amazed at how he keeps producing "gems" every other week! He also hypes very questionable labeling at times(answered me honestly enough when I emailed him on this), said I could not expect to get a "name" violin for "said" price!...BUT he still pushes the name on labels in his auction titles...I am currently looking at a sale of his for a "Labeled" - Bolognese School Violin Lab. Michael Garanus 1717. Who is Michael Garanus? The only Garanus I can find is a Greek/Roman character of myth! Anyway, you can see his violins under seller name " Violiniada ". Would love to read some thoughts on this sellers violins from the learned and more experienced here.

p.s I don't know how to paste links, but if you searck ebay for violins, free shipping, North America; you will quickly find his highlighted sales. Thanks.

Here it is again. Almost all his instruments look the same. Different labels but they all look so similar; same color lacquer even. Even with my untrained eye I am now able to spot his "different" instruments even from the thumbnail picture:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Old-Vintage-Violin-by-...=item4a9d58bc86

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From the angle and lighting on the top photo you can hardly see the tearout in the f hole cuts that were made by the Chinese guy with a dull knife who made this violin....but if you look closely the evidence is there. Hopefully people are smart enough to do a search for violiniada, eboyinc, gammuto, whatever they call themselves today.... before bidding their hard earned money on some scam on ebay. Tom

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From the angle and lighting on the top photo you can hardly see the tearout in the f hole cuts that were made by the Chinese guy with a dull knife who made this violin....but if you look closely the evidence is there. Hopefully people are smart enough to do a search for violiniada, eboyinc, gammuto, whatever they call themselves today.... before bidding their hard earned money on some scam on ebay. Tom

Without a doubt this is a Chinese instrument. The narrow purfling is typical of a product which is distributed by a small east coast distributor. The label which appears to be a photo copy has some loss of toner when it was tinted to look old. The seller is getting much more imanginative with his labels. $6900.00 is an awful lot of money for a $100 violin.

Unfortunately many eBay buyers are not as sophisticated as those who live here on MN.

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  • 4 years later...

Hi,

i dont really recommend this user. I have bought violin from him 2 years ago. I was not satisfied and sent it back. He told me he will send me my money back. To this day I dont have money nor violin. It was more than 2k and thats a lot of money for me :/

Unfortunately I am not making this up, I have archived messages on eBay 

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