Too Good To Be True????


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I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that the abbreviation "Ch." conventionally signified the given name Christian, not Charles (which was just "C." -- which is pretty clearly what's on the stamp but definitely not on the label.

As to N vs M, count the strokes. You can't get an M out of it because you run out of strokes.

the name Charles Flambaux would seem a strange spelling for a French name. But there is a Charles Flambeau (would seem more logical spelling) who did work in Mirecourt, making violins around 1780-1800. His violins had painted purfling and strangely he was engraving the name "C.Flanbau" on the back of the button like on this violin. But according to this site the shape of the scroll (the back of it) had a characteristic flat shape that doesn't really match this one.

So I would think the label is a fake, just someone tried to match the stamp and mispelled the name.

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Is it possible that the back's not original?

I just can't get over the fact that it (the back) looks like a late 19th century piece of wood, the edges don't look 200 years old, the varnish wipe is different from the front, the badly drawn purfling is much worse than the front, and also the little ridge in the button suggests to me that someone might have filed down a pre-existing brand above the ridge.

I am new to this game and proffer these modest musings in all humility, but when I combine these observations with the degree of doubt about spelling, brands, labels etc ... and the price which this knowledgeable seller has set, I'm guessing it's a cut&shut.

Quite unusual to see a front which someone dropped a brick on and a back which is almost pristine. Though of course not beyond the bounds of possibility ...

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Is it possible that the back's not original?

I just can't get over the fact that it (the back) looks like a late 19th century piece of wood, the edges don't look 200 years old, the varnish wipe is different from the front, the badly drawn purfling is much worse than the front, and also the little ridge in the button suggests to me that someone might have filed down a pre-existing brand above the ridge.

No, it's all the same rubb.. sorry, violin.

Notice the ribs set into the back.

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1331885361[/url]' post='537525']

Hi Lyndon,

I`m afraid that I can`t speak french, but isn`t "Flambeuax" when the waiter in France sets you`re dinner on fire?

Flambeau (pl. flambeaux) is a torch ( non-electric). Flambé is the dinner one. Bratwürst are never "flambé." Just FYI.

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there is also 2 or 3 details in the wording on the label. Being french I did learn to write "7" with a bar in the middle. I can't say for sure that someone in 1790 would have written it that way though. the same goes for the "1" often written with a small bar in France while just a "I" elsewhere (again there are many exceptions). the "a paris" also is a little bit unusual because there should be an accent on the "a" (to differenciate the verb from the adverb) although this convention was really adopted around 1700-1750. And there is no capital at Paris, which again is kind of surprising.

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1331921313[/url]' post='537598']

there is also 2 or 3 details in the wording on the label. Being french I did learn to write "7" with a bar in the middle. I can't say for sure that someone in 1790 would have written it that way though. the same goes for the "1" often written with a small bar in France while just a "I" elsewhere (again there are many exceptions). the "a paris" also is a little bit unusual because there should be an accent on the "a" (to differenciate the verb from the adverb) although this convention was really adopted around 1700-1750. And there is no capital at Paris, which again is kind of surprising.

The marks under the date appear to be pencil lines. I do see an accent on à, it's just a little to the right. Also, the capital letters C and F are not an 18th c. style. Joined together writing was just becoming universal in that era, so that's not a problem.

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The French traders & trappers (voyageurs) had a settlement in northern Wisconsin about the same time the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, thus many Wisconsin place-names are of French origin. One such name is "Lac du Flambeau", named by the French upon seeing the Native American Indians spearfishing at night by luring the fish to the surface with the light from fires they built in the prows of their canoes. In English, the name translates to "lake of the beautiful fire".

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the name Charles Flambaux would seem a strange spelling for a French name. But there is a Charles Flambeau (would seem more logical spelling) who did work in Mirecourt, making violins around 1780-1800. His violins had painted purfling and strangely he was engraving the name "C.Flanbau" on the back of the button like on this violin. But according to this site the shape of the scroll (the back of it) had a characteristic flat shape that doesn't really match this one.

So I would think the label is a fake, just someone tried to match the stamp and mispelled the name.

That he stamped "C.FLANBAU" on his fiddles is quite interesting. I wonder why he didn't use an "M". Perhaps he had access only to a partial set of brass stamp characters? They'd have been hellish expensive to replace, since they would have had to be brass, or copper at a minimum, so perhaps that's the whole explanation: someone lost the last/only "M". His alternative to making up a stamp out of loose chars would have been to get a custom stamp cut, which would also have been hellish expensive, particularly for someone who probably wasn't making much from his fiddle business.

What's funny is that this stamp doesn't actually even read "C.FLANBAU", it's "C.FLANBAU#" where the # stands for some other char that I can't see clearly enough to identify. Everyone's been calling it an "X", but it doesn't look in the least like an "X" to me physically.

So do we really have a sort of chindogu fraud here, someone going to enormous effort to turn a VSO into an embarrassingly-inaccurate fake copy of a student fiddle by a minor maker?

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i think peter clearly appraised this as probably a cheaper french violin from around 1800, such a thing might normally in good (better than this) condition be worth 3-5000usd full retail, c flambaux happens to be a cheap french maker from this time period, that doesnt mean the flambaux stamp and label are real, but it doesnt make much difference to the value either way, if its a genuine flambaux or not, by the way jalovec spells the name flambaux, not flambaue, or flambeau

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I hope Lyndon won't rant at me unduly, but my own take on this is that I don't believe the label or the brand or the purfling are likely to be original to the violin. The violin is a typical basic early Mirecourt production, and I think the seller's claim that it's an "original" Flambow or whatever is unsubstantiated and tenuous. As for the date, the seller says pre 1800, Peter is saying around 1800, I would defer to his judgment of course, but I think it may be 30 years later. The term Mi-Fin or Medio Fino, used to describe plain unpurfled violins of Mirecourt origin, was in documented use from around 1850 and presumably dates from quite a bit earlier. I think it's a legitimate point of comparison. In other words, I don't think there's so much of a difference of opinion, but if in doubt listen to Peter!

I have my own take on this seller, which is that his items are overpriced but not essentially tricky. I stand by that, and I would say this violin is a case in point. He had one very nice violin which was stupidly under-priced and which I noticed as a result of Lyndon's post, but someone else (probably another Maestronetter) pipped me to the post.

You're asking if anyone would go to such lengths to dress up a nonentity of a violin and disguise it as a nonentity of a violin? All i can say is that I've seen much more perplexing and amateurish "improvements" - the desire to tinker with violins seems to be irrepressible, and nothing surprises me.

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i dont know how much youve been looking at ebay lately, martin, but for todays ebay prices thats cheap, similarly priced fiddles on ebay would be a german juzek or a fake schweitzer for about the same price, i happen to think, non expert of course, that this fiddle is much more interesting and more valuable than those two alternatives, if you think that price is high, imagine what pahdah hound might sell the same violin for......

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