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ilovefiddle

Samuel Nemessanyi

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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.

Heh, Keyser Soze of the violin world?

"Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone."

--"Verbal" Kint from "The Usual Suspects"

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Nemessanyi most definitely did exist and made quite a few fine violins. Check out the Wikipedia article I wrote about him (using the info from the Benedek book and some other sources). His work varies a lot, but his hand is recognizable when you've seen a few good examples up close. Many of his violins tend to have their scrolls lopped off because they were so fine and used on other fiddles. I was the one who shot the video on Youtube, and the Nemessanyi is one of the ones from the Benedek book (1870). The violin from Brompton's is most definitely not a Nemessanyi. Mr. Remenyi told me that it is most likely an early Spiegel, when he was still making more antiqued copies of other instruments.

I also went to Philadelphia last February to examine a Nemessanyi which was a fantastic instrument. Some things to look for in his instruments are flat edges (no fluting) and darkening under the fingerboard. Those are some traits I've seen on nearly every Nemessanyi I've encountered (around 6 genuine examples). I don't think there are two violins with the same f-holes. He varied those A LOT! As a copyist, his works rival those of Lupot, Lott, and Vuillaume (some would even say more so).

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Thank you so much Jeremyamoto!!

I've read your Wikipedia article many times (can't believe I can see your post here!!), and thanks for pointing out the violin I own is no Nemessanyi and his followers alternatively - flat edges, darkening under the fingerboard, and most importantly he is a fine copyist, which means my violin should at least "look like" one of the greatest maker.

Can you give me a clue of which maker or school it might be?

I've paid a famous appraiser for online service, but he tells me that "mid 19th century, can't identify origin". This violin looks quite nice to me, or is it just another ordinary factory you guys usually see?

Thanks flyboy, I'll try to buy it later.

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Interesting - I'm sure Bromptons also doubted the Conia certificate, since they avoided stating "by" Nemessanyi. Reached a pretty ludicrous price on the basis of that certificate I would have said.

Could you go back to the top of the post, check the photos, and tell us if you think it's a Nemessanyi? I think the scroll is pretty lumpy, though I like the violin as a whole ....

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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

;)

Dear ilovefiddle,

I have just noticed that I missed you're post #5. The pictures I mentioned are the ones in Peter Benedeks book, and it would be better if you could ask him if you could see them (or buy his book) since they are his pictures and I presume he has copyright. I would be very interested to hear what he says.

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I'll bet that the "Nemessanyi" at Brompton's sounded great. That was an extremely well made violin. Spiegel was no slouch, and his best works are reaching mid 20 thousands to $30,000. I used to own one before I traded up to a Lembock.

I think the violin belonging to ilovefiddle has nothing to do with Nemessanyi or his followers. It looks like a very nice instrument, but I'm not even sure if it's Hungarian (I'm thinking no). ilovefiddle, do you have a picture of the front of the scroll or of the side (arching)? Those might help.

It's definitely inspired by Andrea Guarneri. The thicker, chippy varnish on the back makes me think that it might be Czech or Austrian, but I can't be sure. It could be Italian, but it's tough to tell.

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Retail prices for a great Spiegel may be $25,000 in the States, but auction prices are about £5-8000 over here - since this one went for £14,000 it's safe to assume it was bought by someone who thought it was a Nemessanyi (with certificate!).

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I'll bet that the "Nemessanyi" at Brompton's sounded great. That was an extremely well made violin. Spiegel was no slouch, and his best works are reaching mid 20 thousands to $30,000. I used to own one before I traded up to a Lembock.

I think the violin belonging to ilovefiddle has nothing to do with Nemessanyi or his followers. It looks like a very nice instrument, but I'm not even sure if it's Hungarian (I'm thinking no). ilovefiddle, do you have a picture of the front of the scroll or of the side (arching)? Those might help.

It's definitely inspired by Andrea Guarneri. The thicker, chippy varnish on the back makes me think that it might be Czech or Austrian, but I can't be sure. It could be Italian, but it's tough to tell.

There is a Spiegel Violin one Street away from my workshop. I have owened and sold 2 Spiegel's since I have lived here and am pretty certain that the violin at Bromptons was NOT a Spiegel. If you pay 20 to 30 thousand dollars for a Spiegel, it would be fun to know how much you have to pay on top over there to "trade up" for a Lemböck. "Czech" wasn't until 1919.

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Jacob,

It's very possible that it was a Spiegel. The dainty f holes and big corners (not to mention the purfling distance from the edge) are quite indicative of his early work, but I hear you, I wasn't sure what it was. I'm not just talking about any old Spiegel or any old Lembock for that price, I'm talking about superb examples, some of the best in existence. In case you guys missed it too, a Lembock (Paganini Guarneri model) recently sold at Sotheby's (I think it was) for $54,000. These violins are going up in price because people are starting to appreciate their sound/price value now that Italians and even French instruments are overpriced comparatively.

And when I say Czech, I mean the makers living in the Bohemian area that would eventually become that country. Just semantics, and it was 1918, actually.

Martin,

Yes, auction prices are still low for these makers, but shops are a different story. 14,000 pounds is low for a genuine Nemessanyi. They can go anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 in shops depending on the example and who appreciates them. I know of a Nemessanyi in great condition made for a family (originally belonged to a quartet of instruments) that is valued at over $100,000.

ilovefiddle,

I'm still stumped, but thanks for the pics! Is it really that worn or are some of the antiquing marks under the varnish?

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Interesting - I'm sure Bromptons also doubted the Conia certificate, since they avoided stating "by" Nemessanyi. Reached a pretty ludicrous price on the basis of that certificate I would have said.

Could you go back to the top of the post, check the photos, and tell us if you think it's a Nemessanyi? I think the scroll is pretty lumpy, though I like the violin as a whole ....

I can't say whether the certificate influenced the hammer price but I'll bet top dollar whoever bought the Bromptons "Nemessanyi" was not fooled by the certificate. There's no way anyone with even a passing familiarity of Nemessanyi's work would possibly have confused it with a genuine one.

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Jacob,

It's very possible that it was a Spiegel. The dainty f holes and big corners (not to mention the purfling distance from the edge) are quite indicative of his early work, but I hear you, I wasn't sure what it was. I'm not just talking about any old Spiegel or any old Lembock for that price, I'm talking about superb examples, some of the best in existence. In case you guys missed it too, a Lembock (Paganini Guarneri model) recently sold at Sotheby's (I think it was) for $54,000. These violins are going up in price because people are starting to appreciate their sound/price value now that Italians and even French instruments are overpriced comparatively.

And when I say Czech, I mean the makers living in the Bohemian area that would eventually become that country. Just semantics, and it was 1918, actually.

No it wasn't, 1919 Treaty of St Germain.

"Böhmen" included a large German speaking minority of 3 million, to which most if not all vms belonged, acuracy not semantics. The oldest label in the Czech language that I know was a Kulick

Only a mug extrapolates from a single unusual Auction result

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You're assuming that whoever bought it was familiar with Nemessanyi. I think a lot of people who buy at Bromptons are orchestral players - quite often they go on sound, and if there's a piece of paper saying something nice then that's worth a few more thousand! Bromptons are one of the few auctions where you can try out instruments in a hall well in advance - this works very much to their advantage when it comes to nicely made and great sounding violins of dubious provenance.

In my (limited) experience, auctions are no different from any other part of the violin trade - at least 50% of what's sold is assumed by its buyers to be far better than it is, fools rush in etc...

If I had £100 for every fake Bela Szepessy I've seen at UK auctions I could afford to buy one (a fake that is).

Jeremyamoto - what about that Lembock that went for £30,000 at Sothebys in March (lot 196)? I was there, and the London dealers were sure it was a fake, certificate notwithstanding.

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You're assuming that whoever bought it was familiar with Nemessanyi. I think a lot of people who buy at Bromptons are orchestral players - quite often they go on sound, and if there's a piece of paper saying something nice then that's worth a few more thousand! Bromptons are one of the few auctions where you can try out instruments in a hall well in advance - this works very much to their advantage when it comes to nicely made and great sounding violins of dubious provenance.

In my (limited) experience, auctions are no different from any other part of the violin trade - at least 50% of what's sold is assumed by its buyers to be far better than it is, fools rush in etc...

If I had £100 for every fake Bela Szepessy I've seen at UK auctions I could afford to buy one (a fake that is).

Jeremyamoto - what about that Lembock that went for £30,000 at Sothebys in March (lot 196)? I was there, and the London dealers were sure it was a fake, certificate notwithstanding.

I don't know about you but I'm sure even orchestral players would do (some) due diligence when it comes to 14K pounds. In other words, I'd highly doubt it was an impulse buy. Mistaking the Bromptons "Nemessanyi" for a genuine one makes about as much sense as orchestral player mistaking it for a genuine Strad. The Bromptons article isn't even in the same league.

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Martin,

It was definitely not a fake (from what I remember of the pics. they're taken down now). Mine looks exactly like that one except the varnish is more on the red side. Everything about that violin screamed Lembock to me (especially the way the bee stings on the purfling went nearly over the corner). The F holes are virtually identical to mine also. He was a fine maker and one of the best Hungarian/Viennese makers. It was his long Guarneri model. Mine is quite long as well. I think the general consensus is that is smaller Guarneri models are more desirable.

I just think when it comes to auction/shop prices, I don't know of any shop where you could get a great Pierre Simon Bow for 25 grand or a Sartory for under 20 thousand (going from Tarisio's recent auction). I just feel in general that things are cheaper in auctions. Maybe Canada and the US are just grossly inflated, haha.

Jacob,

Yes, I guess officially it was 1919, although October 28th, 1918 was a special date, too. I really don't care enough to continue debating specifics. By the way, I don't appreciate your rude comments. Why would you even call me a mug (whatever that is supposed to mean)?

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Jeremy, when you say your Lembock is long, just how long do you mean? A Guarneri might be long at 14 inches, right? Just curious -- I don't know much about Lembocks.

Richard

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I can't find my measuring tape, but I think last time I measured it, the length of the back was around 360mm. I'll have to get some calipers or something. By comparison, Lembock's smaller Guarneri model is around 352mm. I had to put my tailpiece forward quite a bit to get the proper after length. What a chore that was, lol. Sounds great though. Surprisingly, for such a big instrument, it has a very special E, but also decent depth.

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what is that in mm? For some reason I use inches for everything, but in violins, it's mm. I'm weird...

Oh, I guess that is around 360 mm (thanks google)

Edited by Jeremyamoto

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Jacob,

Yes, I guess officially it was 1919, although October 28th, 1918 was a special date, too. I really don't care enough to continue debating specifics. By the way, I don't appreciate your rude comments. Why would you even call me a mug (whatever that is supposed to cean)?

You were (wrongly) correcting me on "specifics".

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Whoa there now. Yes, I was wrong about the official date. No need to use foul language.

Honestly, I wasn't too impressed with your underhanded comments when you said it would be fun to see how much I spent "trading up" to a Lembock. You talked about it like I was trading garbage for more garbage. These are not unrealistic prices for top examples and not insignificant makers. I'm sorry if I've offended you in any way, but let's get back to poor ilovefiddle's violin and what the thing actually is.

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You were (wrongly) correcting me on "specifics". .........

ALRIGHT, JACOB!! Enough is enough!

The moderator has "censored" my posts for months for saying something similar, but your derogatory rhetoric has been let slide ever since you've been here.

So, moderator, please stop censoring my posts, or from henceforth censor everyone's posts who make derogatory comments. Fair is fair and fair is enough for all.

Thank you,

Jmann

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ALRIGHT, JACOB!! Enough is enough!

The moderator has "censored" my posts for months for saying something similar, but your derogatory rhetoric has been let slide ever since you've been here.

So, moderator, please stop censoring my posts, or from henceforth censor everyone's posts who make derogatory comments. Fair is fair and fair is enough for all.

Thank you,

Jmann

There, there Jmann. I've not exactly "censored" your posts, I've simply held them for approval after I've had a chance to review them. I've allowed most to go through in the end. BTW: I plan to continue this. I've had plenty of history with you, and you had a good number of warnings before I made the move. I'm not sure you "get" why I made the decision to preview your posts... but it had something to do with attitude, and something to do with quality of content.

Jacob. Please keep things this side of R rated, OK? Makes my job easier. Thanks.

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"There, there Jmann. I've not exactly "censored" your posts, I've simply held them for approval after I've had a chance to review them. I've allowed most to go through in the end. BTW: I plan to continue this. I've had plenty of history with you, and you had a good number of warnings before I made the move. I'm not sure you "get" why I made the decision to preview your posts... but it had something to do with attitude, and something to do with quality of content."

----------------------

No need to patronize, Mr. Moderator, I'm a grown man and past retirement.

My "attitude" has nothing to do with anything-many 'professionals' posting in this forum have terrible attitudes, so let's put that aside.

And what about this business you call "quality of content"? Huh? This forum is inundated with content 'lacking quality', and what little I have posted is as good as anything. (People just want to get mad at the 'anonymous', because curiosity driven jealousy eats them alive.) That's their problem, I know who I am and that's good enough.

Notwithstanding I promise to NOT post anything that some (or most) might deem "lacking proof" since that what everyone seems to want even though noone can prove anything, but they continually re-theorize over some other theory -- ad nauseum infinitum.

I speak as a connoisseur / collector of fine Italian stringed instruments of the highest order, which means that I do know what I'm talking about.

Believe me kind sir...

I am not a mushroom, don't eat cow manure and therefore not 'in the blind':)

Thank you,

Jmann

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