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1902 Violin Catalog Pages - Sears


iburkard
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These are legible versions of the 1902 Sears Roebuck catalog pages related to this forum. The illustrations within the catalog are surprisingly accurate, and the text is also quite extensive, which may help us to ID Sears violins faster in the future. Things like fluted tailpieces and other odd hardware/accessories are very clearly illustrated.

searsviol1.jpg

searsviol2.jpg

searsviol3.jpg

searsviol4.jpg

I also have the 1897 catalog, which I will scan soon. It contains a lot of strange accessories which often pop up here for ID. All of the nonstandard pegs, chinrests and bows that I've seen recently are offered in the 1897 catalog.

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These are legible versions of the 1902 Sears Roebuck catalog pages related to this forum. The illustrations within the catalog are surprisingly accurate, and the text is also quite extensive, which may help us to ID Sears violins faster in the future. Things like fluted tailpieces and other odd hardware/accessories are very clearly illustrated.

searsviol1.jpg

searsviol2.jpg

searsviol3.jpg

searsviol4.jpg

I also have the 1897 catalog, which I will scan soon. It contains a lot of strange accessories which often pop up here for ID. All of the nonstandard pegs, chinrests and bows that I've seen recently are offered in the 1897 catalog.

I have used this catalog as a source document for dating violin cases. Unfortunately the country of origin is rarely/never given but, I agree that it's a sobering thought, when viewing unusual violins and bows on eBay, that were were sold through a mail order catalog.

In fact, this was probably the major route of entry for violin outfits in the early 20th century.

I have never seen a Sears catalog earlier than 1902 so the 1897 would make a fascinating comparison. Is that the first one or are there some even earlier?

Glenn

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I have used this catalog as a source document for dating violin cases. Unfortunately the country of origin is rarely/never given but, I agree that it's a sobering thought, when viewing unusual violins and bows on eBay, that were were sold through a mail order catalog.

In fact, this was probably the major route of entry for violin outfits in the early 20th century.

I have never seen a Sears catalog earlier than 1902 so the 1897 would make a fascinating comparison. Is that the first one or are there some even earlier?

Glenn

i'm not sure, but thanks for posting that, that was neat to look at

boy that goes to show you how our dollar has been devauled

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Iburkard, thanks for posting these. I am really going to enjoy pondering these over the next few days. The detail in the illustrations is amazing. Sears could have easily been the largest importer of the day. It would be interesting to know how many small retailers sourced from Sears. I was really impressed with the quantity and selection of different models. I do have a much later Sears Lafayette model with cheap fittings and inferior wood in every part. For $30 it sounds pretty good with $50 strings.

Scott

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Thanks for posting this second catalog.

Absolutely fascinating.

There is a case illustrated of papier mache and described as 'fancy French shape'. In the equivalent French catalogs they are described as 'etuis americaines'. In fact, the shape was pioneered by Bulls Head in the US so they come full circle.

I love this historical stuff.

Glenn

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There are more catalogs, but I beleive that these are the only Sears books with violin information. I could be wrong, so I will order two more (1908... and some other years) just a few cents each... postage is more), and see what I can dig up.

Also, I will post actual images of some of the accessories when I have free time... need to rest! :)

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  • 6 years later...

1902 12R266...genuine Da Salo copy...

I am 99% sure I have one. I did play it when I first bought it...but pretty as it is...it has issues that can't be easily or economically addressed...

Still...nice to revisit it's history!

:)

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If you can find copies of books  by Roy Earhardt and Earsel Atchley called Violin Identification and Price Guide, Vol 1 and 2, they give a good insight into who was doing what in the trade violin market from the 1870s or so, on up to WWII.  Book 3 mostly covers post WWII, and I never got a copy of that. .

 

There are hundreds of catalog pages like those above from Sears, Wards, Bruno, Lyon and Healy, Jenkins, and dozens of other wholesalers and catalog retailers.

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How big is your horse? How much does it eat?

Where I live horses were allowed as transportation into the 1920's.  I haven't rode since I was 6 or 7 years old and got stomped on when I was 13-14.  It hurt so bad I couldn't even yell.  I have never owned my own horse.

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I've often thought it would be interesting to see an exhibition that collected actual examples of these violins offered by Sears, and displayed them along with the relevant catalog listings. Then one could compare the actual objects to the claims. How good, really, was their "best" Louis Lowendall, at $19.95, for example? Was it a real violin, or a VSO? What would that same violin in good condition be worth today?

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If you can find copies of books  by Roy Earhardt [sic] and Earsel Atchley called Violin Identification and Price Guide, Vol 1 and 2, they give a good insight into who was doing what in the trade violin market from the 1870s or so, on up to WWII.  Book 3 mostly covers post WWII...

 

Volume 3 does not cover post WW2.  It contains reproduction of catalogs that offered antique instruments for sale.  So in volume 3 you can see what Lyon & Healy, among other dealers, used to sell Strads and Del Gesus for, as well as many lesser makers.  Volumes 1 and 2 reproduce catalogs that offered new violins for sale.

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I've often thought it would be interesting to see an exhibition that collected actual examples of these violins offered by Sears, and displayed them along with the relevant catalog listings. Then one could compare the actual objects to the claims...

 

I can offer a specific example:  Volumes 1 and 2 of the Ehrhardt books that Micahael Richwine mentioned show reproductions of the violin pages of the 1930 and 1937 Sears catalogs.  In both, the most expensive violins were made by Hermann Geipel, who was a real Markneukirchen maker.  The 1930 catalog offered Geipel's copy of the King Joseph Guarnerius for $89 with a case and a silver-mounted pernambuco bow and the violin alone for $68.  The pegs and tailpiece had inlaid gold accents.

 

I am familiar with Geipel's King Josef Guarneri models, because I have seen several at instrument auctions and because a friend of mine plays one that I did an extensive repair on.  There are also pictures of two of them in Bruce Babbit's book.  These seem to be fairly standardized instruments.  They all have the gold inlays mentioned in the Sears catalog.  They also all have one-piece backs, neck grafts and ebony crowns on the buttons.  They are nicely made Markneukirchen violins of the type that violin shops sell for $5.000 to $10,000 today in nice condition.

 

Because Sears catalogs were the only ones in the Ehrhardt books to offer Hermann Geipel violins, I suspect that Sears was the exclusive United States seller of his instruments.

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I can offer a specific example:  Volumes 1 and 2 of the Ehrhardt books that Micahael Richwine mentioned show reproductions of the violin pages of the 1930 and 1937 Sears catalogs.

 

 

Did Sears sell August Nurnberger Suess Bows?

I am wondering if this kit came from Sears in the 1930's as the case and tailpiece look like the ones in the older catalogue and the owner was 93 years old.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NICE-ANTIQUE-FULL-SIZE-VIOLIN-w-AUGUST-NURNBERGER-BOW-amp-STURDY-CASE-/311371815604

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