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Jon Bapt. Schweitzer


George Regenauer
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I wouldn't pay any more attention to the receipt than to the Schweitzer label.

I have seen dozens of JB Schweitzer labelled violins - they come in various forms but the most common is the long back, plain maple, "ad forman Hieronymus et etc etc Pestini 1813". These are nicely made trade instruments which often sound excellent, and even a shop could imagine it's worth a bob or two. Then there are any number of lesser "copies" (not really copies because they have nothing to do with Schweitzer) including the Mienel & Herold type with fake cracks .... some of these can be dire.

The best Schweitzer "copies" can be had on Ebay for £400 or less - worldwide there's maybe one a week for sale.

Like many players/dealers/enthusiasts, I've never seen a genuine one. They're pretty rare, and would have retailed for a lot more than $3000 in 2001.

JB Schweitzer is just one of those names - a name that sells. Like Geronimo Barnabetti or Didier Nicolas or Francois Breton or any number of French creations, the bone-headed buying public simply can't get to grips with the idea that most if not all of these violins are trade instruments. In the case of Barnabetti or Grandini all of them are, since these makers never existed .....

Even more reputable shops perpetrate the myth, and you will regularly find better trade violins being sold for higher prices than they deserve - "ah yes but this is one of the authentic 1820 ones, not a 20th century one". Derazey is another good example - everyone claims theirs is the real deal when only about 5% can be.

A good JB Schweitzer trade violin will sell for £3000 over here now. It may no better than an an unlabelled Klingenthal violin that's hard to shift at £1000, but it has a nice label with a memorable name.

To me the idea of establishing the worth of a violin from a shop receipt is even more ludicrous than establishing the value by looking at the label.

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Like many players/dealers/enthusiasts, I've never seen a genuine one. They're pretty rare, and would have retailed for a lot more than $3000 in 2001.

Speaking as somebody who has owened two REAL J.B. Schweizer violins, I often get a bit frustrated that people constantly refer to these “german trade” violins as “Schweizer copies”, which they are definatly NOT.

Schweizer was one of Geissenhof’s journeymen violin making assistants until the mid 1820’s, and if you want to know roughly what they look like, you could do no worse, than to look at Jeremy’s Nemeysani in a parallel thread, which is very similar. That he couldn’t possibly have had any influence on any instrument signed with his name prior to ca. 1825 is self evident.

J.B. Schweizer was just a name for the Markneukirchen “Fortschicker” (dealers), as were Strad, Guarneri, Amati, Maggini etc. down through a large range of less used names, like Duke, Geissenhof, Eberle etc.

A genuine Schweizer violin would retail today in the ca. 30.000 Euro range.

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Speaking as someone who hasn't seen one but knows what one should look like, I agree 100% with Jacob, hence my use of inverted commas around the word "copies" and the phrase "Schweitzer labeled violins".

The most common model has an inordinately long back, is labeled 1813 but is from the late 19th century, and has no elements of a Schweizer copy about it whatsoever, apart from the presence of f-holes, a scroll, fingerboard etc .... the fact that the date is outside of Schweizer's working dates is proof in itself that there was no attempt to copy, it's just a nice German-sounding name, probably chosen out of a hat by a workshop owner because it tested well in some kind of early marketing exercise.

Here's a typical label ... completely anachronistic as has been pointed out.

post-34919-0-30311500-1324732622_thumb.jpg

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Speaking as somebody who has owened two REAL J.B. Schweizer violins, I often get a bit frustrated that people constantly refer to these "german trade" violins as "Schweizer copies", which they are definatly NOT.

Schweizer was one of Geissenhof's journeymen violin making assistants until the mid 1820's, and if you want to know roughly what they look like, you could do no worse, than to look at Jeremy's Nemeysani in a parallel thread, which is very similar. That he couldn't possibly have had any influence on any instrument signed with his name prior to ca. 1825 is self evident.

Speaking as someone who has handled authentic Schweitzer instruments in the past and owns a Geissenhof now.... THANK YOU JACOB!!!!! I've cringed through a number of these threads. I think I'll save the address of your post and re-direct future threads here. :)

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Speaking as someone who has handled authentic Schweitzer instruments in the past and owns a Geissenhof now.... THANK YOU JACOB!!!!! I've cringed through a number of these threads. I think I'll save the address of your post and re-direct future threads here. :)

Please feel welcome, Jeffrey.

I was facinated in another thread. You mentioned you're "i before e rule". I have never heard of that before. I will have to try it out! :D

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Speaking of Geissenhofs, there's one in the instrument museum in Berlin. It stands out in my memory because there is also a Stradivari (with a new top) on display, and the Geissenhof really captures the outline of a Strad like few of the other instruments on display do. Ignoring the very worn finish and focusing on the outline of that instrument, the Geissenhof doesn't look like a "Germanized" Strad. It looks like a Strad. Geissenhof must have had access to the real thing.

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Speaking as someone who has handled authentic Schweitzer instruments in the past and owns a Geissenhof now.... THANK YOU JACOB!!!!! I've cringed through a number of these threads. I think I'll save the address of your post and re-direct future threads here. :)

Jeffrey! Could you please send me photos of Geissenhof violins? I would be eternally grateful. I have the book from the Kunsthistoriches Museum, but I've been scouring for other images with no luck.

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  • 7 years later...

I see all of the posts above regarding "fake" or "copies" of joh. Bapt. Schweitzer violins. Almost all make reference to a label on the interior that states Joh. Bapt. Schweitzer...1813... and "made in Germany" somewhere. I do not see "made in Germany " or Schweitzer stamped or labeled anywhere. What are definite indicators if you have a fake/copy/repro JBS violin? Or an indicator of having a real one?

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  • 1 year later...
  • 10 months later...

Welcome ifiddler,

You haven't posted very good photos for anyone to identify your violin.  Follow these suggestions if you want to follow up on this.  https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/333119-how-to-photograph-an-instrument-for-identifcation-purposes/

That said, your violin was probably made in the cottage industry in Saxony/Bohemia in the late 19th c., but others more expert than I will hopefully weigh in.  Better photos could help, and really... you could start a Violin ID thread for your violin instead of tacking it on to an old thread. 

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50 minutes ago, ifiddler said:

I have a Jon. Bap but it is dated 1873 on the inside. Do you have any information on this particular vintage? 

Amati 4.jpg

2039590129_Amatiinside.jpg

You have surely misread the date. It will say 1813, and not 1873, and is the standard Bohemian box, which was never in Budapest, even on holiday

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55 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

You have surely misread the date. It will say 1813, and not 1873, and is the standard Bohemian box…

Yes.  From your pictures, I can see that this is an absolutely typical “Schweitzer” violin.  I have seen dozens of them.

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