Zygmuntowicz at auction


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GMM, I don't peruse the auctions like some other people here, but I'd be very surprised if analysis of psychological factors in any high-dollar business doesn't come into play.

Could a trashed looking fiddle with a Strad label bring more than one which looks like the seller knew what he was doing?

Is there enhanced appeal to some when the seller must be a fool, and probably doesn't know what the instrument is worth?

Jeffrey already touched on some of the possible (psychological) factors, and he knows the auction scene much better than I do.

Maybe our resident psych people will comment?

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Have alook at the violins they have for sale in the december catalogue: http://www.bromptonsauctioneers.com/Archiv...keywords=violin

Give an idea how vast amount of intruments they deal with, how much the prices vary (£8000 is more expensive than most fiddles sold there). Some seem to be sold at fairly high prices.

I do not know much about this type of auctions, but I am surprised how low some of the prices are.

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From Wikpedia

"Samuel Zygmuntowicz (born 1956) is a contemporary luthier. He began his instrument making training when he was thirteen years old and studied making and restoration under Peter Prier, Carl Becker and Rene Morel."

Presumably could have made an instrument in 1969 as his first. Probably later. Seems to have finished his SLC and other training by 1985 as he opened his shop in that year. He finished SLC (Prier) training in or before 1980. So this 1983 instrument was probably not a graduation instrument for the SLC school. This assumes the bio in Wikpedia is correct.

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Take a closer look at the G-string winding and finetuner. Absolute the same but mirrored for e-string in Photoshop. I guess the Violin was delivered with 3 strings.

Looked at the enlarged full photo again. The string attached at the E position has a slightly different winding colour to that attached at the G position of the tailpiece.

Also, the G position string is lax and has a slightly different trajectory behind the bridge than that at the E position, even with image inversion.

So now I am not so convinced about photo manipulation of the strings, but the E adjuster still looks mighty weird as CB said.

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Is Sam that much younger than I? :) I was working at Weisshaar in '71.

Oh yeah...Sam and Ben were roommates I think he graduated 6 months before Ben.

As legend has it these two had the first oil varnished graduation instruments in the States.....

Time marches on and on and on and on and on and on

On we go,

Joe

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Looked at the enlarged full photo again. The string attached at the E position has a slightly different winding colour to that attached at the G position of the tailpiece.

Also, the G position string is lax and has a slightly different trajectory behind the bridge than that at the E position, even with image inversion.

So now I am not so convinced about photo manipulation of the strings, but the E adjuster still looks mighty weird as CB said.

If you look at the threaded portion of the E string lever tuner (that protrudes through the tailpiece) it is black, yet the body is nickel color, just like the other three. In addition, if you look at the transition point where the lever tuner meets the wood, it is clearly overlapping it in a physically impossible way, besides photo manipulation.

The only question is why.

Cue the conspiracy music.. Doo dee doo doo doo dee doo doo ... ...

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Who here has a ten foot pole? :)

If it can still catch a fish, eight foot is long enough. :)

BTW, if the E tuner isn't a reversed duplicate of it's opposite brother, I'll never give David any grief again.

Look at the reflections; and no one, not even a lacky, inlays a fine tuner into the underside of a tailpiece.

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The lack of an e string would explain the need to slack the g, in order for the tailpiece to look straight.

Arglebargle--making the string hit the slot in the nut adds time to do the bend into the pegbox. Speaking of which notice how the e string goes past the e peg. :)

I think this is a photographer issue rather than an auction house issue. By the time of the auction probably the violin had 4 strings? Perhaps the photographer didn't have a replacement available and had to handle it as best they could, little knowing, oh rich irony, that due to the maker's fame their photo would soon be dissected into the ground on Maestronet? :)

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BTW, if the E tuner isn't a reversed duplicate of it's opposite brother, I'll never give David any grief again.

Look at the reflections; and no one, not even a lacky, inlays a fine tuner into the underside of a tailpiece.

That's how I would'a done it. :) I can see the editing session now... Damn. This fiddle looks like hell with the e string missing. Why did it get shot that way?? Too late to take another shot. Catalog goes on the net and to the printer in the morning... Tell the photographer to cut and paste a string in!

GMM: I'll certainly concede that the time and trouble it would have taken to put a blasted e string on the fiddle in the first place is far less than the time it took to chop in a phantom one.

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From Wikpedia

"Samuel Zygmuntowicz (born 1956) is a contemporary luthier. He began his instrument making training when he was thirteen years old and studied making and restoration under Peter Prier, Carl Becker and Rene Morel."

Presumably could have made an instrument in 1969 as his first. Probably later. Seems to have finished his SLC and other training by 1985 as he opened his shop in that year. He finished SLC (Prier) training in or before 1980. So this 1983 instrument was probably not a graduation instrument for the SLC school. This assumes the bio in Wikpedia is correct.

His Violinist.com bio page probaly written by himself: http://www.violinist.com/directory/bio.cfm?member=SamZyg

It a bit into the text it says: "His work has won high honors in international competitions, including double gold medals for violin tone and workmanship (Violin Society of America, 1980)"

So if this really is a Z violin, it must have been made while he was with Rene Morel and Jacques Francais.

The vernish on that instrument does not look much like what I have seen of Sams later violins (often more reddish), but the picture on his Violinist.com bio page seem to be not far from brown, as the sold violin.

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Download photo and then take a look on the features. It shows a webaddress from a "weddingphotographer" who make all the photos for this auctionhouse probably. I think he don`t know anything about Violins, but how to handle something in photoshop. So some brite`s can look mirrored or whatever...... :)

I guess Peter Horner who is the expert of this house called Mr. Zygmuntowicz before he deceided to offer it as "by" the maker.

Looked at the enlarged full photo again. The string attached at the E position has a slightly different winding colour to that attached at the G position of the tailpiece.

Also, the G position string is lax and has a slightly different trajectory behind the bridge than that at the E position, even with image inversion.

The winding color can be changed in 2 sec. in photoshop to give a different look. Mirrored was only the tuner and the winding, not the complete length of the G-string. There is no string on the market in that color where the winding run in this direction!

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£8000 is what, $11K+ USD? Current Zygs start at $50K+ USD. I don't know what he charged in 1983, but that still seems like quite a drop for a seemingly popular maker.

A little thought on prices when the instruments are made on orders. Lets assume that there is a three or four year waiting list. The price agreed upon today will be released three or four years from now. That is sort of an option. At least in Norway "options" are value papers, like stocks, that you are agreed to buy for "now price", but sell at a certain time ahead, if you want to, without really having bought the stocks. Lucrative for "the owner". :-)

So the price the maker gets may be a three or four year old one, not even with the consume price index being corrected for.

Just some philosophy on this. A price is not necessarily what the maker get now. So if you compare the prices of a violin maker working on orders or one that have instruments in stock, you are not really comparing the same thing. The ordered instruments has to be priced higher to compare.

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BTW, if the E tuner isn't a reversed duplicate of it's opposite brother, I'll never give David any grief again.

Look at the reflections; and no one, not even a lacky, inlays a fine tuner into the underside of a tailpiece.

Upon a closer look, yup, you're right. Same dust specks, reflections and everything, and the silking part of the string bows outward just like the slack G. I guess the part above the silking was drawn in.

A little bit of a letdown though, compared to speculating on how such a tuner might have come into existence. :)

OK, you're entitled to give me grief forever. :)

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...but given the choice between stuff-up and conspiracy, go for the stuff-up every time.

Not sure I agree with that. Doctoring a photograph is a form of conspiracy (acting in harmony towards a common end) - otherwise why do it.

If the violin came to the auction house in a bad state, the House should have advised the seller of the consequences (that's partly what their fees buy the seller).

In any case, the estimate was surprisingly low, so maybe they thought that Sam Z was not a strong enough selling criterion - it needed a fake string in the catalogue to pull in the punters.

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Rumours have been floating for years about the Mr Z/ Stern violins sale.

However, they are beautifully antiqued, true eye candy . The Mr Z example that sold last week was rather plain and it is hard to sell a violin that is not antiqued. That been said, I question the authenticity of this violin.

There many well crafted Chinese violins in the UK with bogus label, especially modern makers.

A violin of that age should have papers from the maker, I would be suspect if it didn't.

A violin a bad set up and a missing E string prevents a player to judge as to sound. One must be reliant

on the violin label and the catogue. Basic on this factors, I'll bet the UK buyers kept their distance and it in sold the American buyer.

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