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Quiz for Addie


jacobsaunders
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...violin lacks the "Mittenwald notch," but it has all the characteristics of a Markneukirchen-Schönbach trade violin of poor quality and poor condition.

JHMO,

Addie

The description printed in the auction catalog for this violin read "Mittenwald Violin,.... bearing the repair label of Treffle Gervais, Boston, 1922, length of back 358 mm. Repair at lower back center seam,...." It was written by the long time musical instruments expert at one of the leading auction houses for the sale of musical instruments in the United States. This auction house, located in the northeastern US, has fine musical instrument auctions twice a year. I have this description in writing, not only in the auction catalog but also on the invoice I received when I bought it. It sold at auction for many, many times $25, I can assure you.

I do make mistakes from time to time, like anyone, but I believe each and every one of my attributions are accurate and correct. When I am not reasonably certain I consult experts and rely on their opinions, or I do not attribute. If a well-respected expert puts his opinion in writing, I generally believe it unless I have adequate evidence to disprove it.

I put up fresh violins every week, along with detailed descriptions and quality photographs and stand behind each one with a money back guarantee. I put it out there and I am a regular target for criticism here. If you read the posts on this forum from 4-8 years ago you will see the opposite was true then, back when very few dealers offered a money back guarantee and even fewer offered real things to bid on. But please, I try to be accurate and respectful with both my descriptions on ebay and my comments here and would appreciate similar efforts at accuracy from others.

Jesse :)

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I do make mistakes from time to time, like anyone, but I believe each and every one of my attributions are accurate and correct.

Jesse :)

100% accuracy on attributions???, even the experts i work with dont claim to be right all the time

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http://www.skinnerinc.com/cms/cmsfiles/catalogue-pdf/November%202011/2569B_Music.pdf

well pahdahs right about one thing, skinner called it a mittenwald violin #167 if you scroll down the page estimated worth 300-500usd,

by the way if you look at the bottom picture of the violin you can see a gap of at least a mm between the rib and the back at the bottom block, this is the "repaired" area pahdah mentions,

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v. good!

I must be loosing my touch, as I think,-Mittenwald notch or not-, that this is exactly where this violin was made.

I have not ever seen Schoenbach corners and purfling mitres like that.

The close up up the right front corner and ff in particular is sooo (to me....) typical.

I don't think it's a particularly good one, but to me, definitely Mittenwald.

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skinner was offering lots and lots of mittenwald fiddles in their auction, of which this one had to be about the cheapest, funny thing they didnt seem to have any markneukirchen/schoenbach violins for sale, that appraisal is just bad for business

ps skinner said the violin was circa 1900, pahdah puts it 50 years older, mid 19th cenury he says in descrip.

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I think it's very rash to pay any attention to descriptions in auction catalogues! The experts employed by auction houses are often also dealers who put instruments into those auctions, buy violins from them, and scoop up unsold lots - hardly a recipe for objectivity.

I once bought an instrument which was catalogued as Italian - the expert used by the auction house also had a prestigious shop and was in the habit of issuing certificates, so I sent the violin to him for a certificate, only to be told it was "probably English". These days I tread much more warily.

As far as I know, only Tarisio is willing to guarantee its attributions and refund in the case of mis-attribution.

So whether Skinners said this is Mittenwald or not is irrelevant to the question of whether it's Mittenwald or not. My view - looks quite like a lower grade Neuner & Hornsteiner, with the bottom rib divided for the purposes of repair. IMHO!!

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I seize to be amazed how these thing bring so much on ebay, sorry Pahdah but most of these type are lucky to bring 100- 200 $ US in Europe on ebay. Regardless of Pahdahs guarantees it is still basically very low grade(on par with MedioFINO). All i can say is `American buyers` on ebay must be very naive ,gullible and ill informed.And if they are from Europe ,`idiots`.I usually throw this sort of thing in a corner somewhere and when i tidy up the workshop they are usually flat(squashed so i throw them out).No offense but just my view. :)

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From the forum rules:

"Personal attacks on individuals will not be tolerated and will result in banning from participation in the forums. For example you are free to state that in your opinion a certain instrument labelled such and such is or is not authentic. You can also support your opinion with facts as you see them, as long as you make no reference to the individual or company listing the instrument or use hearsay in your argument. You cannot say for example that such and such an instrument is not authentic because you know the individual listing the instrument is not trustworthy or you believe the company routinely uses false descriptions of its instruments. That will get you banned.

Similarly, you can defend the authenticity of an instrument with the facts as you see them, as long as personal attacks and hearsay are not used. For example, you could refer to the shape of the f holes in support of a certain origin, but what you cannot do is attack any individuals that may hold a different opinion. "

There is nothing wrong, or against the rules, about discussing the instrument. There is nothing wrong with the listing seller defending the instrument... there is nothing wrong with liking or disliking the instrument and saying so... there is nothing wrong with disagreement... but some posts on this thread go much further than that. Personal attacks here will not be tolerated.

Now...I'm sensitive to threads that develop as this one has. They are why the rules were posted. I won't go into specifically who has followed the rules on this thread and who hasn't. You all know the rules. Most have followed them. Some have not. I'll simply suggest that you if you think you may have broken the rules, you reread your posts and adjust as required.

If you find this venue useful and entertaining, and wish to continue posting on it, please be responsible for helping to maintain the environment. A couple of you might consider modifying your comments. If you don't, I will (already removed one post, edited another three, and will be checking in throughout the day to determine the fate of one or two others).

If y'all don't think I'm serious about this issue, I think you'd be convinced if you were in the room with me at the moment. This type of moderation does not make me a happy camper. I feel it's a waste of my time and completely avoidable if the members here simply abide by the rules.

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100% accuracy on attributions, even the experts i work with dont claim to be right all the time, heres an obvious case of a non mittenwald fiddle youre dead wrong about.

"I do make mistakes from time to time, like anyone, but I believe each and every one of my attributions are accurate and correct."

I do make mistakes, I am not nearly 100% accurate, but I do believe each and every one of my attributions are accurate and correct. If I do not believe, I do not attribute. If I find proof that I have made a mistake, I will no longer believe the attribution to be accurate and correct but will then believe it to be inaccurate and incorrect. This is not a difficult concept. I also believe that most experts believe their attributions to be correct until they find evidence or proof they are not correct.

I do not think it will be hard to find plenty of experts and others who agree with Skinner that it is a Mittenwald fiddle. What's the big deal about a Mittenwald fiddle anyway? It is not as if we were discussing the relative merit of Neapolitan violins compared to those from Cremona.

For those who are wondering and may have asked, the Mittenwald notch is a centering nick in the rib or back plate under the tailpin that helped to center the tailpin on violins with one piece ribs (ie no seam at the taiplpin). Another common characteristic of Mittenwald violins is the saddle cut into the rib. Most Mittenwald violins have this nick, one-piece rib and cut-in or dropped saddle.

If you look at the violin that is the subject of this thread you will notice that the head is grafted-a rather unusual attribute for a Mittenwald violin made in 1900. You will also notice that the button has an ebony crown, another attribute that would be very unusual to find on a 1900s Mittenwald violin. These were, however, attributes on Master Art grades from Markneukirchen firms in the 1920s and also on Juzek Master Art models from the same period (of which this is neither). They were never attributes of commercially produced Mittenwald violins from 1900. It is much more realistic to expect these attributes on a violin made around 1850 or earlier. I think there is ample evidence to conclude that the violin is c. 1850 or earlier and that the attribution of Mittenwald is accurate.

Before the violin was ready for sale it required work including, gluing of top and back seams, gluing of saddle and fingerboard, planing the fingerboard, making a new soundpost, new Dominant strings, adjusting the pegs, and cleaning. EBay fees and Paypal fees totaled about $200. Anyone can easily do the math and conclude that a fortune was not made on this $1100 sale.

Jesse :)

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A brief and necessarily incomplete blueprint for distinguishing between Mittenwald „Verleger“ and Markn/Schönbach „Dutzendware“

Scroll/peg box

Viewed from the profile, Mwald Scrolls tend to have a pronounced “back of the head” (Hinterkopf) also a prominent “forehead” with sharpish champers, whereas the Dutzendarbeit tend to me more rounded off and over in both respects. The fluting in Mittenwald goes all the way into the throat, whereas the Dutzendarbeit finishes as early as 6 o’clock. On the back of the peg box, the Mwald centre spine normally remains sharp right to the end (and is often prominent vis a vis each side) whereas the Dutzendarbeit tends to finish less sharp, or have a kind of “delta” at the bottom.

Rib construction

In Mittenwald they used an inside mould, the Markn/Schönbach Dutzendarbeit, no mould (until later years). This results in the Mittenwald ones having the join at the end of the ribs to the C bout side, the rib ends finishing cut fairly square. The Dutzendarbeit system involved making the ribs much longer first, so that they could be cramped and glued together and then rasped off afterwards. This leaves the joint either in the centre, or indistinguishable. The ends of their ribs were then often chamfered off at an angle, so that the rib ends don’t look so thick. The Dutzendarbeit ribs often end at the furthest protrusion of the back/belly corners, whereas the Mittenwald ones stop a couple of mm before the end of the back/belly corners. Mittenwald corner blocks cover about twice as much upper/lower rib as c bout rib and the invariably pine linings of the c bout are let into the corner blocks with a point. The Dutzendarbeit method didn’t necessarily require corner blocks and therefore often didn’t have any, where they do, they mostly have, seen from the plan view a more equilateral triangle aspect. Linings are not let in to these “corner blocks”. The bottom rib of a Mittenwald Verleger violin is with occasional exceptions in one piece (or was) and normally has a notch or notches (top and bottom) to mark the middle. Dutzendarbeit with a one piece bottom rib, is so unusual as to provoke suspicion. A let in Bottom saddle can be found both in Mwald and Mkirchen, as can a non let in one, so it isn’t a reliable identification criterion at all.

Back/Belly

The Dutzendarbeit bellies were roughed out with integral bass bar, until they developed a routing machine which made fitting and gluing a bass bar necessary. This was a remnant of the old Markneukirchen tradition and was neither quicker, easier or a short cut (as I discovered trying to do one). The Mwald Backs/Bellies are, although smother, no more carefully worked out, often being either too thick or ridiculously thin. They have glued in Bass bars. Mittenwald purfeling is normally fitted far too deep, encouraging edges to break off. They tend to have “bee stings” which is less characteristic of the Dutzendarbeit. The black strand of the purfeling in Mwald seems to be stained right through equally, whereas Dutzendarbeit often has stained blacks, where the stain hasn’t penetrated too the middle of the black strand, leaving a strange impression of grey/white/grey (see Mr. Hounds vn, just to the left of the button)

Beer

Both Mittenwald and Markneukirchen Beer has been brewed according to the “Reinheitsgebot” (purity requirement) for hundreds of years. This means that the only allowed ingredients are water, barley, hops and yeast (I think). In Markneukirchen it is served in half litre glasses, whereas the Mittenwalder like to serve it in one litre glasses (Maß). The British beer, by contrast, is murky, non transparent, warm, served in pints and tends to have a residual diluted washing-up liquid type flavour.

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1) I do not think it will be hard to find plenty of experts and others who agree with Skinner that it is a Mittenwald fiddle.

2) What's the big deal about a Mittenwald fiddle anyway? It is not as if we were discussing the relative merit of Neapolitan violins compared to those from Cremona.

Hi Jesse;

For the record, since the sale is already over, I'm gonna' comment.

1) I think you're correct... I think you will find many others who agree with the attribution. I probably would, with the caveat that, with the exception of a few Mittenwald makers I feel very comfortable with, I don't believe I have any special expertise in this area. I would say that the fiddle in question strikes me as being very similar to some 19th century fiddles I've seen bearing (what appear to be original) Neuner (or similar) labels.... so I guess Peter and I may be in the same lifeboat. Please read on, though.

2) It is important, I think, to be as accurate as possible about an attribution. It doesn't matter that a buyer is spending $1,000 or $100,000. They are relying on the seller. An example; Those who bought "Peccatte Vuillaume" bows in the from a wide variety of dealers in the '60s are now faced with the possibility of actually owning a Simon, Maline, or Martin. The expertise has changed... and the comparative values between the makers from the shop has widened. In the '60s, the difference wasn't a big deal. Sure, they are all still far more valuable than they were back then, but owners still get cranky when they find out the truth as we know it now.

Maybe the various permutations of these less expensive Germanic violins will become more critical, maybe not...

No one is 100% accurate, as has already been stated... that's why opinions are called, well, opinions. But an opinion should be clearly stated as one. It should also include known caveats. I do pay rather close attention when someone who is far more familiar with the German trade says something about an instrument I might be taking for granted, however. It's that moment that a person makes a conscious decision to learn something, or not to learn something. It may be that fiddles like this have migrated across the world with false labels, or that the Neuner and other families bought instruments from other areas and labeled them as from their own shop (wouldn't be the first time!). I leave this to Jacob and others to clarify, as I know my own limitations in this area.

Bottom line is; I believe if the opinion is your own, you need to be willing to defend with example while at the same time being open to new data. If the opinion is being accepted (another person's opinion), I feel that should be clearly stated (who when). How this applies to marketing on a venue like Ebay is probably not for me to decide... but I know what I'd prefer to see. :)

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Hi Jesse;

For the record, since the sale is already over, I'm gonna' comment.

1) I think you're correct... I think you will find many others who agree with the attribution. I probably would have, with the caveat that, with the exception of a few Mittenwald makers I feel very comfortable with, I don't believe I have any special expertise in this area I would say that the fiddle in question strikes me as being very similar to some 19th century fiddles I've seen bearing (what appear to be original) Neuner (or similar) labels.... so I guess Peter and I may be in the same lifeboat. Please read on, though.

2) It is important, I think, to be as accurate as possible about an attribution. It doesn't matter that a buyer is spending $1,000 or $100,000. They are relying on the seller. An example; Those who bought "Peccatte Vuillaume" bows in the from a wide variety of dealers in the '60s are now faced with the possibility of actually owning a Simon, Maline, or Martin. The expertise has changed... and the comparative values between the makers from the shop has widened. In the '60s, the difference wasn't a big deal. Sure, they are all still far more valuable than they were back then, but owners still get cranky when they find out the truth as we know it now.

Maybe the various permutations of these less expensive Germanic violins will become more critical, maybe not...

No one is 100% accurate, as has already been stated... that's why opinions are called, well, opinions. But an opinion should be clearly stated as one. It should also include known caveats. I do pay rather close attention when someone who is far more familiar with the German trade says something about an instrument I might be taking for granted, however. It's that moment that a person makes a conscious decision to learn something, or not to learn something. It may be that fiddles like this have migrated across the world with false labels, or that the Neuner and other families bought instruments from other areas and labeled them as from their own shop (wouldn't be the first time!). I leave this to Jacob and others to clarify, as I know my own limitations in this area.

I look forward to some day, having a similar discussion on the history, evolution and merits of 18th century Italians. Unfortunately, I have so little experience in that area that I will be able to add nothing of interest to the discussion.

Thanks to Jacobsaunders for the scholarly explanation of the characteristics of Germanic violins and differences between the regions. I have learned from you.

Jesse

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I put up fresh violins every week, along with detailed descriptions and quality photographs and stand behind each one with a money back guarantee. I put it out there and I am a regular target for criticism here.

Jesse :)

Dear Jesse,

please forgive my initial post in this topic. The part about prices paid was of course irrelevant to the topic, which was and is about attribution. I assumed you would read the topic, which is why I addressed my post to you, as a fellow forum member. Rest assured I do not track auction sellers, but rather focus on the instruments themselves. I would also like to thank you for listing the points that led to your attribution of Mittenwald. As you are no doubt aware, I disagreed with your attribution, but failed to itemize the points that led me to say Markneukirchen-Schönbach.

They are the two-piece lower bout, the purfling, and the volute and the fluting in the throat of the same. Having looked closely at the grain and flame (as close as I can, anyhow) I don’t think the lower rib was originally 1 piece.

In your favor, the bottom of the pegbox lacks the flattened “delta,” the saddle is set into the ribs (although see Jacob’s post), and the fluting of the volute goes past 6-o’clock (but not a whole lot further). Also in your corner are the not-to-be-ignored opinions of a few other forum members!

Finally, of course, you have handled the instrument, and we have only looked at photos. I still disagree with Mittenwald, but as an evil disciple of Jacob Saunders, what can do you expect? :lol:

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It's become painfully obvious that, without mentioning anyone in particular as that would be in violation of forum decorum, the hype and used-car salesman quality of certain ebay listings does not inspire confidence (rather mockery) and engenders disdain and animosity among other sellers who don't engage in the same antics (possibly too strong a word). Some of said listings seem to beg the question, "do you really think people are that stupid - and by extension what does that say about you as a person?"

I personally couldn't care less about seller descriptions since I don't buy violins or bows on ebay (tried it recently against my better angels, got burnt, got my a** handed to me by Jacob Saunders (and Lyndon), then resumed my original stance on the subject); it's merely an observation.

Back to Sevcik.

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as that would be in violation of forum decorum

and...

Speaking only in general terms--as on this website to do otherwise is considered "flaming" and gets threads deleted--

No, these would be violations of forum rules. An example of proper decorum might be to avoid sarcastic comments made with, what I can only guess was, the purpose of goading the moderator.

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I don't normally read auction descriptions. I like to use my eyes.

Which Sevcik?

http://imslp.org/wik...%C3%ADk,_Otakar

Using your eyes is good, until you find out you were looking at extensively Photoshopped pictures...

As I'm undergoing a major technique overhaul (bye bye Galamian, hello Auer), I was recommended these. Not the most fascinating book in the world, but I am finding that in excerpted small and bitter doses, Sevcik is quite useful. Drinking beer while playing the stuff seems to help with the mind numbing aspect.

http://imslp.org/wiki/Changes_of_Position_and_Preparatory_Scale_Studies,_Op.8_(%C5%A0ev%C4%8D%C3%ADk,_Otakar)

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