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How do I know if I have a real Fangola?


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Sorry it doesn't look much like yours at all :blink:

Look at the button (little indents where the button meets the back), the scroll (soft where yours is sharp), the f-hole fluting, and above all the varnish.

I can't zoom in on the Ifshin Violins example but I think there's a pin on the purfling line below the button. The lower block has rather messy varnish on top of it so I don't know if there's a pin there. Fagnola pins are very small, you'd really need a bigger photo to see them.

You will find instruments almost identical to the Ifshin violins example which came up at Bromptons and Sothebys. The Bromptons one had a 2-piece back, and a Beares and a Dmitry Gindin certificate. I don't think the Sothebys one had a pin in the bottom block ....

GO TO AN APPRAISER !!!

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Thank you very much for your info. In fact it is at a professional repair shop now who may be able to appraise. If I cannot find someone in Little Rock AR then I will be going to St Louis in 3 weeks and plan on setting up a sitting with an appraiser there.

The challenge is that living in Little Rock AR we are not dripping with violin expertise. Finding someone who can provide a written appraisal which would be universally recognized may not be possible around here.

Perhaps you guys / ladies can help. I have easy access to Little Rock, AR; Memphis, TN and St Louis, MO over the next few weeks. Does anyone have the name of an appraiser in any of these areas which would provide such an appraisal / authenticity verification?

Please understand I am not trying to get away cheap I promise.

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Actually, this thread brings up a question. Who are the top few experts who can offer next-to-unquestioned certifications these days in the United States?

It's my belief that while most shop owners in every city of any size have a good general expertise, when it gets down to dealing with very expensive instruments, a higher level of expertise or a second opinion might be worthwhile to seek.

If everyone here was telling you, Danny, that the violin looked likely to be a Fagnola, then you might as well go directly to a top expert. But since it looks iffy, starting at the largest shop in a major city like St. Louis might be sufficient. Most large shops likely have access to a source of higher expertise when they see the necessity. If a good shop in St Louis looks at your violin and can't say yea or nay definitively, they should be able to give you a name, or they should be able to handle it for you.

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Very sound advice Will and everyone. I agree that to get a definitive answer on such an iffy instrument I will need to continue moving up the levels until someone can point to a definitive reason to come to a conclusion. While I do not hold hope, I also do not want to be on the chain of individuals who make assumptions without facts only to find out some day that another person along the line comes to the correct judgement.

Along the way I have learned a lot about violins and I again thank all of you for your time.

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Terry Borman is in Federal...You could get a CT scan, dendro and all!

Just bite the bullet, pack it up well, and send it to Chicago.

I agree with Martin, your fiddle looks nothing like the one that Jay has, and to quote a famous bow expert, "I don't give you much hope!"

Not that this is one of them, but I saw a couple of mighty frightening Fagnola copies in Japan a couple of years ago. The person responsible for them told me that Jim Warren had purchased a couple of them as references...

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Perhaps...

One was apart that another shop in Tokyo had purchased as genuine. Even the interior work, with a little distressing, was plausable. Not to mention the fact that he was using age-appropriate wood.

He also presented me with a Sartory that has quite nearly convinced me that I should never bid on a Sartory at auction ever again. Next to the real one that we had taken to Japan, it was scary.

Of note: He claimed that items of both had been, and I quote, "auction proven".

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Greetings and I have an update...

We have done enough investigation to 100% eliminate the idea that this is an authentic Fagnola. I have 2 more clues to understand its true origin.

First, my professional guy here found a little stamp on the tip of the scroll. It is an H.?. He believes there may be a second letter but it is not readable. I added a few photos of this stamp in my pics linked below.

Second is that he said the inside of the scroll painted red is unique and believes it to be original. Again I took a picture and included it in the pics below.

The Pics

I am going to look into several potential makers. Still not sure if the violin was made and then the certificate was falsified or vice versa. Let the mystery continue!

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addie could you please write me an appraisal/certification that my 1990 volvo is actually an experimental model designed and built by rolls royce, im sure it would add to the resale value, especially if i put it on ebay and said it came from my grandfather......

OK, here ya go.

post-35343-0-49338200-1339184758_thumb.jpg

post-35343-0-05425200-1339184775_thumb.jpg

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Greetings and I have an update...

We have done enough investigation to 100% eliminate the idea that this is an authentic Fagnola. I have 2 more clues to understand its true origin.

First, my professional guy here found a little stamp on the tip of the scroll. It is an H.?. He believes there may be a second letter but it is not readable. I added a few photos of this stamp in my pics linked below.

Second is that he said the inside of the scroll painted red is unique and believes it to be original. Again I took a picture and included it in the pics below.

The Pics

I am going to look into several potential makers. Still not sure if the violin was made and then the certificate was falsified or vice versa. Let the mystery continue!

I wouldn't think the H has anything to do with the maker. More likely a previous owner, the reason being that makers seem to try to make the most beautiful, pristine scrolls possible. They might burn their initials/chop into the button face, or on the inside of the body, or the inside of the pegbox, or even under the fingerboard, but you won't find many -if any- who do anything to the scroll. (Having stuck my neck out, someone will now proceed to point out fifty makers I've never heard of who routinely do everything to their scrolls short of cutting them off)

Pity that it's not a real Fagnola. But I'm sure you were already prepared for that.

The cert's probably a Chinese counterfeit. <--(I'm only half-joking. They even advertise counterfeit certs for various nefarious purposes.)

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I would still vote for a genuine certificate (not Addie's of course, but I will come to you next time I need one) and a modern violin (Czech perhaps) made or labeled optimisitically to fit the certificate.

The alleged H on the scroll also seems to me to be highly unlikely to be an initial, more likely a dent!

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After looking at the certificate closely the ink has no dots. Based on the information I have accumulated on Jay Freeman I believe the certificate is real and from him and on this Violin, but apparently he would sign anything for the right $$. Not a very trustworthy person from what I am gathering.

On the mark, it is very definitely a letter. The pictures do not do it justice. It is most likely an H but maybe an M and a very distinct period after the letter. It also looks like there is another letter after that didnt get marked solidly.

The name on the certificate is Hyman Posner (or Hymon Posner) which would match what someone else said that the mark could have been done by an owner. H.P.

I think I may try to catch up with his relatives and see what I can find out.

Am I going overboard on investigating? It is just so interesting and I love a good mystery. I may be just in withdrawal since they canceled House! :)

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One other interesting note on the maker, the button on this violin is covered by the back. So if the back was removed and looked at alone it would have the silhouette of the button on the top. Is this indicative of anything? Quality, time period, style of makers or location?

I can tell you I will never look at a violin the same after this adventure! So much more to learn.

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One other interesting note on the maker, the button on this violin is covered by the back. So if the back was removed and looked at alone it would have the silhouette of the button on the top. Is this indicative of anything? Quality, time period, style of makers or location?

If I understand what you mean, that's the usual way it's done -- the back is cut such as to "cap" the button (the same thickening of the neck to match the body is called the "heel" on banjos and possibly also on guitars, mandos, etc) and hide what would otherwise be a visible seam when looking at the back. Having the seam visible from the side isn't a problem--it agrees with the seam at the back/rib join. There are similar joints done in cabinetmaking for the same aesthetic reason.

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Thanks for the insight and that does make sense.

Still looking around for information on the true maker. Starting to feel like a lost cause. Maybe some day someone will come looking and find this forum.

Looking for the actual maker may or may not be worth the time and money. If you've gone to a recognized, knowledgeable appraiser or similar expert, and they are able to tell you the following:

1. The violin is or is not a mass produced instrument.

2. The violin is or is not a Fagnola.

3. The violin is or is not a carefully made instrument made by a professional maker.

4. The violin is or is not in good shape, in terms of varnish and condition of all wood.

5. The violin does, or probably will when set up, sound good.

6. Restoring the violin to playable condition will not exceed the approximate value of the violin, even when maker cannot be determined.

then you may have all the information that's important, namely for deciding whether you should or should not go ahead and have the violin competently restored.

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  • 2 months later...

Hey everyone,

I finally got it out to St Louis to have this violin checked out at Seitz Violins and he helped me out alot. We looked over a book he had which had a ton of real size Fangola violin pictures. It was quite obvious that the violin is not from him for the same reasons I have heard from this forum and others, but none the less he was quite impressed with the violin and offered to purchase it from me. We finally agreed on a trade and I ended up with a beautiful Vienna violin made by Nicolaus Ries in 1824. I will start another posting to show pictures and get your take on the violin.

Thanks to all for your replies!

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