One of my many mystery fiddles. Take your best Guess


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I have a violin that was purchased a long time ago, and I have paperwork telling me what its "suposed to be" however, I would really value your opinions more than this profesional,... well known"firm" simply because I know this business is not always so honest. It has no visible label, but some repair tags dating back to the earliest of 1880's. They appear to be genuine and the repair work has been done amazingly well. It obviously needs some work in its current condition, but when I purchased it, it was set up well, and sounded amazing. The arches are very defined, and really give a sweet sombre tone. Thank you for your help, and any input you can offer. Great looking scroll graft and decent bushings.

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More pics of my priceless coveted violin. Luckily for me the brown varnish like “whatever it is”… easily comes off with the rite technique, so hopefully when I get it down to the base varnish,… It will look less like a steaming pile of unsalted shit.

You can see the graft, bushings, sound post patch, and the treble f-hole has been grafted as well. Strange.

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Hi Joseph,

I remember not so many years ago I used to take violins to a couple of very knowledgeable people, they were invariably rude and dismissive and I was often hurt. But this just increased my determination to learn and to educate my eyes and ears. Don't take it personally ...

I can't tell you much about the violin - obviously Jacob and Peter think it's very poor but I always have trouble with instruments that may have been over-varnished. I agree with Lyndon that the work on the neck looks like a couple of big cheek patches rather than a graft, you can see where they end towards the beginning of the volute.

The button is normally quite a significant point of identification - in this case it's been well and truly mashed, so that makes things harder.

I'd have to say the wood looks nice and the edges are interesting - the red gloup on the scroll is off-putting, giving it a very Czechoslovakian look, and the varnish on the back looks very different to the front. The front has a rather "sanded-down" look to it, which also inhibits identification.

I'd guess this is a decent mid to late 19th century Bohemian instrument, maybe made in Kutna Horo, which has been through the wars and come out looking a lot worse than it is.I also had something like this by a Hungarian maker called Lajos Sebok.

The patch in the right f-hole is a crude repair to cover damage probably caused by incautious use of a soundpost setter.

We are all very keen to know which major firm attributed it as Italian - their opinion, if on paper, may be worth quite a lot, even if it's wrong!

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maybe made in Kutna Horo, which has been through the wars and come out looking a lot worse than it is.I also had something like this by a Hungarian maker called Lajos Sebok.

We are all very keen to know which major firm attributed it as Italian - their opinion, if on paper, may be worth quite a lot, even if it's wrong!

Kutna Hora would have been (in the indiginous violin communty) "Küttenburg" in the 19th. C. It is more than possible that someone like Sebok bought something like this and stuck his (dealer) label in, but it's pretty obvious where it comes from. I would rather not learn which "reputable firm" called it "Italian" (where did the OP say that?), or that it has been "amazingly well" repaired, since it is obviously ready for the dust bin.

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I imagine it was attributed as Italian since the photos all say "Italian" and "Italian Maestro" ..... maybe the OP will correct me.

Interested in "Kuettenberg" - can u tell me more? I've had a few violins claiming to be made in Kutna Horo.

Was Sebok purely a dealer or did he make instruments too? It was quite an idiosyncratic piece of work.

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The only maker from Kutteberg (sorry, no umlaut, my mistake) is Cermak, who supposedly learnt with his uncle, Patocka, although he looks a bit self taught to me. Almost all these Hungarian, and large town Bohemian makers, when making there own, worked more or less in the Vienna/Budapest tradition, ie. over a mould. Nearly all of them, however bought and labelled instruments from the Markneukirchen/Schönbach area, build without a mould (like the OP’s), so there is no need to get mixed up.

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More pics of my priceless coveted violin. Luckily for me the brown varnish like “whatever it is”… easily comes off with the rite technique, so hopefully when I get it down to the base varnish,… It will look less like a steaming pile of unsalted shit.

You can see the graft, bushings, sound post patch, and the treble f-hole has been grafted as well. Strange.

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What I mostly get from looking at the photos, Joseph, is that at least one person besides yourself loved that fiddle --which is quite the recommendation in itself, if only we recognise it.

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Thank you for your input. True professionalism and talent at work. Time tested abilities to prove you are better than everyone perceives you. Obviously your expertise is undervalued and you should be better respected.

Don’t dispair. We weren’t sure you were serious (condition, etc. vs your statement), and some of us have a hard time being serious at any time. ohmy.gif

Also, used violin salesmen fill a level of hell lower than used car salesmen. A favorite, and pertinent, line from a book is “what can we sell this as?”

Finally, There are some world class experts on this forum, but you have to hang around long enough to be able to distinguish them from those of us that make up the peanut gallery. But, if a little ribbing is all you have to pay for a world-class evaluation, what the hell... smile.gif

Addie, who mostly owns VSO-POS’s.

P.S. how does it sound? That’s all that really matters.

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I am not on the up and up as far as grafts go. I'm not a violin pro, I build guitars for a living, and only wish violins were as humbly built as guitars. They are so complex, and I grasp about 2% of the facts and figures that I would like to comprehend.

After reviewing the differences in cheek and peg box grafts, I agree with Lyndon that this is a cheek graft to sure up the pegbox.

-Martin- Thank you for your point of view, and I am in the same boat you were once in. I lack the expertise to differentiate between a nice instrument, or a VSO POS, and it seems when I do find something that I admire, it turns out to be something like the instrument in this post.

I hate to shoot down the instrument house that told me this was Italian. And yes, they also said it had been “well repaired and just needed a good setup”. Needless to say I will not be returning. It’s amazing how violin shops with amazing pedigrees, and generations of loyal business by thousands of eager collectors like myself. They have probably already seen this post and are hoping I do not implicate them.

It had a decent sound before It was taken down, and with the rite setup work, I think it will sound ok. I don’t mind some prodding especially from real experts. And I do recognize the true experts from the “peanut gallery” and I also see people that undervalue their own opinions for one reason or another. Now me personally, have every right in the world to undervalue my opinion, simply because I hardly have enough knowledge of violins to even form an opinion. Haha.

So, given that this may be bohemian,… what would the value be if it did turn out to have a somewhat sweet sound. My guess would be in the 650 to 1k range. If the repairs hadn’t been done so poorly, mabe 1,500. But that’s just a guess.

I do have a question about one of my Hill bows, and will be opening another topic in a few mins about that. Wondering of the maker. I do believe it is Sydney yeoman, but can’t be sure. Have only seen a few of his bows.

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