Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Machold


C.B.Fiddler
 Share

Recommended Posts

The headline for today's Newark Star-Ledger is about Machold. This is of great interest here in NJ because of the NJSO-Axelrod case. If I recall correctly, Axelrod sold questionable instruments to the NJ Symphony Orchestra. I understand Axelrod obtained instruments from Machold. Roger Hargrave is quoted in the article.

Stay Tuned.

Mike

As posted by Cozio.com on Facebook this morning:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/violin_broker_probed_in_new_je.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As most of you know I had a bad rollover car accident down a hill and my bell was rung. I'm not supoosed to be on the computer but my watchguard is unaware. With this in mind I ask a direspectful question-

Why Roger, with all your influence and power did you not make this evident to others in the 80's? I ask this not in a critcal manner but I wonder if it was political and or finacial suicide to blow the whistle way back then.

Jeffrey if this is rude or doesn't make sense please remove this. I am really "off" right now and shouldn't be writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Libel law comes to mind. I don't know how it is in Germany, but in the UK you can even get sued and lose for saying things which are true. The disincentive to speak out is very strong.

For instance: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/cracking-the-spine-of-libel/ Lots of additional links at the bottom of the story....

If I can turn the tables on you, why are doctors reticent to point out to the public the massive self-misuse of drugs by other doctors that seems to be regular part of hospital life, from what I hear? I have a personal instance in mind, too, not just House, MD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean, it is hard to evaluate things now that the plot is unveiled... In the 80's Roger was much younger and not well known as he is today... I found Roger quite coragious to mention problmes with the "authenticity of instruments" sold by Machold...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those unique, American pairings, no doubt for the good of the average citizen:

--The medical profession and the drug industry.

--The medical profession and the insurance industry.

--Big money entities and government.

--The academic field of economics and big money entities.

--The military and private industry.

--News networks and political parties.

Summary: Power seeks money, and vice versa, no doubt for the good of the average citizen.

"One hand washes the other."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to be a fairly significant collector of ancient Roman and Greek coins. The high end market attracted all kinds of unscrupulous characters who manipulated buyers and inflated prices. Some even sold counterfeits! Wherever there are big bucks, there are crooks. Caveat emptor. ;)

Stay Tuned.

Mike

PS: I sold my collection. Turns out the numismatic books made me more money than the coins. Go figure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As most of you know I had a bad rollover car accident down a hill and my bell was rung. I'm not supoosed to be on the computer but my watchguard is unaware. With this in mind I ask a direspectful question-

Why Roger, with all your influence and power did you not make this evident to others in the 80's? I ask this not in a critcal manner but I wonder if it was political and or finacial suicide to blow the whistle way back then.

Jeffrey if this is rude or doesn't make sense please remove this. I am really "off" right now and shouldn't be writing.

Hi Dean! I am going to write once and once only about this topic (unless or until I feel the urge again). I don't think that I can ever be accused of not speaking out. The problem has always been to shut me up. As you say back in the eighties I worked for Machold in Bremen. And although his father had sold a couple of Strads it was mainly down to me that Dietmar's business took off. I took him to his first auctions in London and introduced him to people in the business. I also fixed up the instruments he wished to sell in a way that seldom happened in Germany at that time. Most of the best German makers were still working in London in the early 80's. Within three years I had set up a workshop with eleven restorers with nine different nationalities. Many of these people are exceptional characters in the business today. It was dynamic and fun to be a part of. We were all well treated and very well paid for our various talents. The Macholds (especially Dietmar) were smart enough to let us get on with what we could do best. But Dietmar was a wizard in his own field and that was making, working with and moving money. He could have sold carpets and done the same kind of deals. Moreover, in spite of the fact that he never had many personal friendships that I was aware of, (and I was very close for a time), he was nevertheless an extremely personable and persuasive personality. It did not surprised me when he began open shops all over the world after I had left the firm.

He sold instruments to God and Mammon. He sold behind the "iron curtain" to many east European countries and even to North Korea. At the same time he was creaming off the western worlds top capitalists. In this respect he took no moral stand where business was concerned.

I have to say that for the first year or two in Bremen I spoke very little German and was not always aware of the financial side of the business. I simply got on with building up the workshop which because of the various nationalities mainly conversed in English. However, slowly and very surely I was introduced to the dealing side. Mainly I traveled and did customer service work on a scale that had never been seen before in our business. I was his trouble shooter and I was good at it. If needed I would fly to Boston to fit a sound post, to Budapest to cut a bridge, and be driven through checkpoint Charley to the North Korean Embassy in a diplomatic car, to adjust the odd Strad or two. I was in my early thirties and I came from a northern English working class family. It was as if all my birthdays came every day. It was fun and it was exciting and I was handling Strads Amaties and Guarneries almost by the hour. So what went wrong? Well, about three years into the job I began to see things that were very unsettling. Attributions that were at best sloppy and at worst........ So in my forth year I decided to get out because quite frankly I thought that the walls would be falling in at any moment. But by this time I had a young family and I had invited many friends to came and work at the shop who also had young families. There were four babies born within one month to the workers in the shop Dec/Jan 1983, and several more later. Rightly or wrongly I felt very responsible for them. So my job became a kind of juggling act. Trying to get out and prepare myself as a solo maker. Trying to help and prepare my colleges for this eventuality and trying to warn customers wherever possible. And all this to be balanced against doing my daily job for the firm and writing articles for the Strad and judging competitions and the like.

There was a lot going on and it took its toll. By the time I finally got away at the beginning of 86, I was on the edge of a breakdown. Any of my Machold colleges will confirm the severity of my state at that time. I was pretty much unbearable. You ask why no-one spoke up. But we did, and often. People either did not hear or chose not to hear. Five years ago a gentleman who bought and swapped an instrument in the early eighties called and said,

"You knew that the instrument I swapped was wrong, because when I said to you this is a good deal you said, 'Its not a deal I would make.'"

Yes I said and you remembered this twenty years later, so why did you do it? And this was not an isolated incident. Even as late as two months ago I told a bank that two Strads that they had lent a huge amount of money against were wrong. And the banks lawyer said,

"Machold is a world famous expert and a well respected dealer. Who are you?"

And this has been the cry so often. Not only do people not wish to hear, but so often they do not wish to rock the boat, either because of the damage that this might do to the business generally, or because they have at one time had dealings with Machold.

In addition there was the problem of proof. We all saw the piles of money but we could prove nothing, and in fact I believe that we would have been in serious danger had we tried. People want to believe what they want to believe and that is how the Machold's of this world have made so many killings.

Almost no-one is immune to the greed that the right story can awaken within us and in this respect Machold is one of the greatest story tellers of the era. Right now I feel genuinely sorry for him, but I also feel more sorry for the musicians and private individuals who have suffered from his excesses. The Bankers will recover (at our expense) but for the rest only time will tell. It has been twenty five years since I left his shop and I have met him only twice since. Like everyone else who left I was quickly ostracized. The shops workers were told to show me nothing and to tell me nothing and generally I was glad of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dean! I am going to write once and once only about this topic (unless or until I feel the urge again). I don't think that I can ever be accused of not speaking out. The problem has always been to shut me up.

It has been twenty five years since I left his shop and I have met him only twice since. Like everyone else who left I was quickly ostracized. The shops workers were told to show me nothing and to tell me nothing and generally I was glad of it.

Thanks Roger.

It's ALWAYS iteresting to get a view from the inside - and this is probably the only insider comment I'll ever hear about this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The high end market attracted all kinds of unscrupulous characters who manipulated buyers and inflated prices. Some even sold counterfeits! Wherever there are big bucks, there are crooks. Caveat emptor.

The finer the Fine Art, the finer the Art of the deal.

Caveat emptor, indeed.

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Roger. I wasn't sure if this was the right thing to ask (especially after my accident) but I know you are a good man since you surround yourself with good people...some of whom I know.

Your gracious response overwhelms me and enlightens me. You are quite a unique and special man...

Thank you

Dean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some questions for anybody having any info:

On what was Machold's violin expertise based? Was he, himself, a maker? What was his exposure to high end violins before he went into business for himself? He seems to have appeared in the high end violin trade out of the blue a couple of decades ago. Was he more of a general business man than a violin expert?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What Mr. Hargrave sees in a violin firm that deals with the top instruments happen everyday in shops all over the world. Instruments are sold with wrong attributions, wrong certificates, and mismatched parts. The violin dealing industry is not well regulated at all. Instruments cross borders all the time without proper customs procedures. Customs offices are not equip to check valuable instrments. In other trades, this would be major smuggling federal felony. I am glad I got out of working for someone else, and just focus on making and selling my own instruments and bows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Roger. I wasn't sure if this was the right thing to ask (especially after my accident) but I know you are a good man since you surround yourself with good people...some of whom I know.

Your gracious response overwhelms me and enlightens me. You are quite a unique and special man...

Thank you

Dean

Accident?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Accident?

I was going to write you privately Ben since I didn't want to derail this thread but now Jezzupe has brought this up I'll state the basics.

Tire blowout, explosion-hit a fence after swerving right-flipped into the air and spun by the metal fence as it twisted and broke apart, high speed rolling bouncing abot 4 times down a steep hill- clutched the steering tight with my knees arms and tucked my head and held on until everything stopped. concussion, l shoulder injury many bruises and lot of pain, amnesia and persistent headaches and confusion about time. I should have died but I didn't. I will be well in the future as long as I "rest my brain" from the concussion.

Write me privately for more or go to facebook. There's more to this story but I'll leave it for outside this forum. Thank you all for your concern.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dean! I am going to write once and once only about this topic (unless or until I feel the urge again). I don't think that I can ever be accused of not speaking out. The problem has always been to shut me up. As you say back in the eighties I worked for Machold in Bremen. And although his father had sold a couple of Strads it was mainly down to me that Dietmar's business took off. I took him to his first auctions in London and introduced him to people in the business. I also fixed up the instruments he wished to sell in a way that seldom happened in Germany at that time. Most of the best German makers were still working in London in the early 80's. Within three years I had set up a workshop with eleven restorers with nine different nationalities. Many of these people are exceptional characters in the business today. It was dynamic and fun to be a part of. We were all well treated and very well paid for our various talents. The Macholds (especially Dietmar) were smart enough to let us get on with what we could do best. But Dietmar was a wizard in his own field and that was making, working with and moving money. He could have sold carpets and done the same kind of deals. Moreover, in spite of the fact that he never had many personal friendships that I was aware of, (and I was very close for a time), he was nevertheless an extremely personable and persuasive personality. It did not surprised me when he began open shops all over the world after I had left the firm.

He sold instruments to God and Mammon. He sold behind the "iron curtain" to many east European countries and even to North Korea. At the same time he was creaming off the western worlds top capitalists. In this respect he took no moral stand where business was concerned.

I have to say that for the first year or two in Bremen I spoke very little German and was not always aware of the financial side of the business. I simply got on with building up the workshop which because of the various nationalities mainly conversed in English. However, slowly and very surely I was introduced to the dealing side. Mainly I traveled and did customer service work on a scale that had never been seen before in our business. I was his trouble shooter and I was good at it. If needed I would fly to Boston to fit a sound post, to Budapest to cut a bridge, and be driven through checkpoint Charley to the North Korean Embassy in a diplomatic car, to adjust the odd Strad or two. I was in my early thirties and I came from a northern English working class family. It was as if all my birthdays came every day. It was fun and it was exciting and I was handling Strads Amaties and Guarneries almost by the hour. So what went wrong? Well, about three years into the job I began to see things that were very unsettling. Attributions that were at best sloppy and at worst........ So in my forth year I decided to get out because quite frankly I thought that the walls would be falling in at any moment. But by this time I had a young family and I had invited many friends to came and work at the shop who also had young families. There were four babies born within one month to the workers in the shop Dec/Jan 1983, and several more later. Rightly or wrongly I felt very responsible for them. So my job became a kind of juggling act. Trying to get out and prepare myself as a solo maker. Trying to help and prepare my colleges for this eventuality and trying to warn customers wherever possible. And all this to be balanced against doing my daily job for the firm and writing articles for the Strad and judging competitions and the like.

There was a lot going on and it took its toll. By the time I finally got away at the beginning of 86, I was on the edge of a breakdown. Any of my Machold colleges will confirm the severity of my state at that time. I was pretty much unbearable. You ask why no-one spoke up. But we did, and often. People either did not hear or chose not to hear. Five years ago a gentleman who bought and swapped an instrument in the early eighties called and said,

"You knew that the instrument I swapped was wrong, because when I said to you this is a good deal you said, 'Its not a deal I would make.'"

Yes I said and you remembered this twenty years later, so why did you do it? And this was not an isolated incident. Even as late as two months ago I told a bank that two Strads that they had lent a huge amount of money against were wrong. And the banks lawyer said,

"Machold is a world famous expert and a well respected dealer. Who are you?"

And this has been the cry so often. Not only do people not wish to hear, but so often they do not wish to rock the boat, either because of the damage that this might do to the business generally, or because they have at one time had dealings with Machold.

In addition there was the problem of proof. We all saw the piles of money but we could prove nothing, and in fact I believe that we would have been in serious danger had we tried. People want to believe what they want to believe and that is how the Machold's of this world have made so many killings.

Almost no-one is immune to the greed that the right story can awaken within us and in this respect Machold is one of the greatest story tellers of the era. Right now I feel genuinely sorry for him, but I also feel more sorry for the musicians and private individuals who have suffered from his excesses. The Bankers will recover (at our expense) but for the rest only time will tell. It has been twenty five years since I left his shop and I have met him only twice since. Like everyone else who left I was quickly ostracized. The shops workers were told to show me nothing and to tell me nothing and generally I was glad of it.

Although I'm quoting Roger here my questions are directed to all members of the trade.

Who were considered experts in the 80s? Was Machold considered the pre-eminent expert by that time? Had Machold acquired the Hill & Hamma archives by then? Didn't investors and buyers seek out other experts to get their opinions and confirmation?

B&F or Beare could have spoken up. I understand there might be the perception of "conflict of interest/deal assassination" where dealers might be concerned, but what about 'independents' like Dario D'Attili, iirc, who was still alive at the time?

While there's no doubt in my mind that potential buyers might be easily deluded by the 'thrill of the chase,' was Machold already that influential in the trade by that time?

What's to prevent something like this from happening again? If anything, there are fewer and fewer experts now. When one dealer corners the market on reliable archives it's pretty much game over, isn't it? I'm remind of the movie "Catch me if you can" of Frank Abagnale, instead of check kiting you have 'violin kiting.'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...