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Samuel Nemessanyi

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Dear Experts,

I've a violin confirmed by a famous appraiser (by high quality photo only) to be a quite fine and interesting violin of mid 19th centry, of which he cannot identify the exact origin. To my untrained eyes, it doesn't look like a German, French nor English. I'm thinking of a Bohemian simply because I'm not paying much for this violin compaired to the quality. An Italian of the same quality will be much more expensive.

Does anybody has information of mid 19th centry bohemian luthier? The only one I know is Samuel Nemessanyi and his followers, which I cannot find detail photos of his work to compare with. I know Samuel himself was an excellent copier, and wounder if his followes such as Karl Hermann Voigt and Bela Szepessy also copiers? Does anybody have detail photos? Any information will be appreciated. Thank you in advance!

PS. please excuse my poor english

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First off, I'm not an expert!

Can you post a photo?

A genuine Nemessanyi isn't remotely cheap - though obviously you don't pay the silly money for it being Italian.

There are THOUSANDS of "Bohemian" makers from the mid 19th Century, the term covers all of what is now Czech Republic, Slovakia, some of Austria, Hungary, and quite a bit of Germany (have I missed anything?) - but if a "famous appraiser" can't give you a clue from a good set of photos then it's unlikely to be by a well-known name.

Did you buy this violin already or are you thinking of buying it?

Martin Swan Violins

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Nemessanyi is Hungarys most holy (and copied) violin maker, a Schweizer puipil. The Hungarian colleagues would probably lynch you if they heard you call him Bohemian!

Benedik in his book "Ungarisher Geigenbau" (in German and English) has pictures of Violins from 1864, 1870, 1871, 1877, & 1879.

Carefull! The Hungarians also had there so called "English workshop" where they made many fakes of just about anything.

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Dear Martin,

Yes I actually own the violin, I bought it about 2 years ago.

"a famous appraiser can't give you a clue from a good set of photos then it's unlikely to be by a well-known name."

This is exactly what I'm thinking too (although not so happy to hear that from appraiser)!! But at the same time he said the violin is "quite fine and interesting" - I'm curious of what I'm having, although it might be inexpensive.

Dear Jacob,

Sorry for saying that! my appology!

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Where are you based? You could always send photos to Bromptons Auctioneers for an online valuation (free) bromptons online valuation.

Very nice looking violin, which seems to me to have had a long life in the hands of an orchestral player or two. And worthy of a more expert eye than mine.

I'd be very interested in the opinions of others as I don't recognize the maker, but there are some very nice features, particularly the corners and the edgework.

I would bid quite a lot on it if I saw it in an auction and it sounded good. But it sounds good, even from here ....!

Yes I would say "Bohemian" (incorporating Hungary!). I think someone should be able to identify this violin, it's quite characteristic ...

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Where are you based? You could always send photos to Bromptons Auctioneers for an online valuation (free) bromptons online valuation.

Very nice looking violin, which seems to me to have had a long life in the hands of an orchestral player or two. And worthy of a more expert eye than mine.

I'd be very interested in the opinions of others as I don't recognize the maker, but there are some very nice features, particularly the corners and the edgework.

I would bid quite a lot on it if I saw it in an auction and it sounded good. But it sounds good, even from here ....!

Yes I would say "Bohemian" (incorporating Hungary!). I think someone should be able to identify this violin, it's quite characteristic ...

The warning about getting lynched was more for Martin, since I believe he occasionally has business ties with Hungary.

I find it almost impossible to authenticate Nemessanyi, since he only lived to his mid-forties, and is supposed to have left only about 70 instruments. It is made even harder, because he in principle made Copies (Strad/Guarneri) and had several colleagues (& relations) who were also v. good makers, who worked in the same Tradition (that of Schweizer). Further more, his Name has long had such a nimbus, that since his death, anything remotely resembling his work has had a label with his name inserted.

Your very nice violin does look like it could have something to do with this Austro-Hungarian 19th. Centuary group of makers though, although I could think of a few suspects who could come in question. I would be very interested to know where you received the hint that this could be by Nemessanyi and if there is a label.

P.S: Since when has Bohemia incorporated Hungary, Martin?

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Here's a Nemessanyi cartified by Stefano Conia - formerly known as Stefan Konja, and one of the Konja family who know a bit about Hungarian violins!

Doesn't look anything like yours!

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I was making precisely that point about slack use of the term "Bohemian", note the inverted commas. I am of course more careful - you might even say I walk on eggshells around the former Austro-Hungarian empire, particularly Budapest (and the bits of Croatia which still have landmines). But I think Hungary ends up in most compendia of Bohemian makers ... and the term is certainly used in auction rooms to cover a multitude of unidentifieds!

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I was making precisely that point about slack use of the term "Bohemian", note the inverted commas. I am of course more careful - you might even say I walk on eggshells around the former Austro-Hungarian empire, particularly Budapest (and the bits of Croatia which still have landmines). But I think Hungary ends up in most compendia of Bohemian makers ... and the term is certainly used in auction rooms to cover a multitude of unidentifieds!

Yes, there are strange poeple who get upset for some reason when someone says that Scotland is in England

Hungary was incorporated in the Ottoman empire once upon a time, and they are still cross about that, although it's more than 300 years ago

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Maybe Stefano Conia's certificates have the same hollow ring as his violins!

Without the Ottoman invasions, Hungarian cooking would be insufferably dull - Scotland likewise saved from culinary misery by the influence of the East ...

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Dear Martin,

I based in Macau (China), where I cannot find any appraiser nearby, therefore I'm seeking for help here......

Thanks for the link, I've studied it before too, but since the description is "attributed to Samuel Nemessanyi", I didn't take it as a reference.

Dear Jacob,

Actually no one gives me any hint. The label is "ANDREAS GUARNERI...." which is obviously a fake label because it doesn't match with the real label I've seen (I'll try to take a photo through the f holes), and the appraiser said it is a mid-19th. I've been searching the Italian makers of 19th, non of their work looks alike. Knowing that even experts could hardly identify the work of Nemessanyi, I'm just curious if anyone has more information. And most importantly, because I'm not paying an Italian price for this 19th centry violin

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Dear Jacob,

Actually no one gives me any hint. The label is "ANDREAS GUARNERI...." which is obviously a fake label because it doesn't match with the real label I've seen (I'll try to take a photo through the f holes), and the appraiser said it is a mid-19th. I've been searching the Italian makers of 19th, non of their work looks alike. Knowing that even experts could hardly identify the work of Nemessanyi, I'm just curious if anyone has more information. And most importantly, because I'm not paying an Italian price for this 19th centry violin

I think you would be best advised to send a letter (with the above photos) to Peter Benedek, (www.benedek.de) in Munich (& with my best wishes). He, after all, wrote the book on Hungarian Instruments and should either have an example there to compare with, or know where one is. After all that is the only way one can really do serious appraisals. He would also be the obvious person to certify it, should he decide that it is a Nemessanyi. It would also be interesting to compare with a J.B. Schweitzer and others, but that is another story.

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I was told recently that the Scots eat deep-fried Mars-Bars. Is that true?

I did live in Scotland for nearly 6 years and although I heard about fried mars bars, and they might really exist, I actually never saw one myself or someone eating one... Maybe it's a little bit like Nessie :)

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Jacob - if it's nae moving ye can deep fry it!

I would refer you to the back cover of my album "The Order of Things" (photo attached) - this is a poster from an actual fish&chip shop in Broughton Street, Edinburgh.

Deep-fried pizza, haggis, white pudding, and of course mars bars!

I think you could put rather more faith in the existence of a deep-fried mars bar than an accurate Stefano Conia certificate.

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Can I just chip in that the only person who linked this violin with nemessanyi was the original poster, and along the lines of "he's the only mid-19th century Bohemian I've heard of ...."!

Personally I think we're all barking up the wrong tree - I don't think the scroll is good enough to be from that level of maker, and the arching around the f-holes looks a bit "dull". I think Bohemian, not Hungarian.

But I only really know anything about French violins, and then only between about 1890 and 1920!

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Jacob, thanks a lot for the information and best wishes, I'll try that out!! I also attached the "fake" label ;)

Martin, thanks for reminding everyone :) actually I'm just seeking for photos and information of Nemessanyi and his followers, I don't want to mislead anyone

Fiddlecollector, thanks a lot for the video! This is the first image of Nemessanyi's violin, although it's quite hard to examin the details inside the video. Any thoughts?

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Jacob, thanks a lot for the information and best wishes, I'll try that out!! I also attached the "fake" label ;)

Martin, thanks for reminding everyone :) actually I'm just seeking for photos and information of Nemessanyi and his followers, I don't want to mislead anyone

Fiddlecollector, thanks a lot for the video! This is the first image of Nemessanyi's violin, although it's quite hard to examin the details inside the video. Any thoughts?

Jacob Saunders has already referred to it, but if you want a good introduction to the Hungarian school the "Violin Makers of Hungary" by Peter Benedek is a great start.

http://www.orpheusmusicshop.com/category-51/SL049.html

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I can't resist interjecting that I have been told a number of times by an expert with not inconsequential heft in the international world of Strads, Guarneri's and such that Nemessanyi in fact didn't make ANY violins personally. Unless I misunderstood him he once claimed that Nemessanyi didn't even exist.

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