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RxNZXP

Violin and Bow ID, Guidantus and Fracalossi

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Hi everyone, this is a violin that my orchestra director has let me use to see if I am interested in purchasing it. It sounds beautiful, I just have some questions about it that I would like to get cleared. I also have a violin bow that I purchased last year that has very little information available.

The certificate says that it has an effaced label of GUIDANTUS. The varnish is very retouched. The body length is 13 7/8" scant. Also, it writes that it is a flat model and that both the top and back is completely lined with a strip of ebony. It could have been decorative and protection from further wear. What is the actual reason? Is this style of repair a style of a certain school of violin making? The scroll is also grafted to a new neck and I can see the new wood.

The bow is labeled A. FRACALOSSI and is mounted with only MOP and no silver.

 

The violin was appraised in 2002 for 25,000 USD and is being sold for 7,500 USD.

The bow was bought for 1,350 USD.

 

Is the violin worth it? I also would like to just know a little more of both of these beautiful instruments. Thank you!
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Edited by RxNZXP

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Many years ago I had a violin stamped Chappuy with such ebony edges. At the time I visited the museum in Mirecourt, where I was surprised to see other ebony edged violins (stamped Lupot, if I remember rightly). I cannot remember ever seeing this feature from Markneukirchen area instruments, although I have an old violin by Heberlein with similar edges in ivory (and have seen others). Both the Chappuy and the Heberlein also have ebony resp. ivory edges all around the pegbox & scroll,which would lead me to want to critically investigate if your fiddle hasn’t got a later replacement scroll. I also wonder if your violin isn’t slightly later than the Chappuy but think you should find an expert with a main emphasis on old french fiddles (which would rule me out)

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My main concern is if this violin is a cottage factory instrument. It certainly does not play like one, but my I do not trust untrained eye even though I think it looks beautiful. Thank you so much for your input jacobsaunders! I have seen an example in Ivory, but not ebony. I remember reading that some Hungarian makers put an ebony bow guard on the left c bout. http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Violins/Ficker/10735/FickerViolin.html

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More pictures please: details of the purfling particularly near the bee stings;

                                               where the ribs come together , also how they connect to the back

                                               soundholes up close

                                               back of scroll

                                               endpin area

                                               c -bouts

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I'll be really clear (and destroy your hopes), Guidantus is a relatively well known maker with a distinctive style. This isn't remotely close to his work.

I don't know what this is. I have never seen ebony like that before. It could be something out towards Hungary, but it certainly doesn't strike me as French. -sorry!

Ficker and similar are always quite beautifully done when they have ivory edges!

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Haha, it didn't destroy my hopes. The more I look at this, the more Guarneri-ish it looks. My director has given me more information that it is from a professor in Europe about 15 years ago. Any other thoughts?

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The 1737 Guidantus at the Banff Centre instrument bank has been appraised and insured for 100,000.= Canadian dollars.

The instrument you are showing was appraised at about 1/4 of that price. What was the appraisal based on?

You mention a certificate. Could you show it? It might say "an instrument labeled Guidanus.." which would mean nothing at all.

 

Now it is being sold for 7500 dollar. Again why? Was the initial appraisal totally off or did the instrument need some

extensive repairs? You mention revarnishing: how extensive was it?

Usually some alarm bells are starting to go off in my head when hearing these kind of stories. Particularly without any clear reason why  these numbers. But maybe there is a good explanation.

 

It is an interesting looking violin. Is the black lining really ebony? Or only a part of it is? It looks so seamless in many places.

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I don't have a clue what it is, but i think it's beautiful.  How does it sound?

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In respect to the current owner of the instrument, I would prefer not to post a picture of the certificate. It does say a label, so I do understand that there are plenty of facsimile labels. The appraisal of the instrument was by Harry. A Duffy if that helps at all. Most of the appraisal was paraphrased in the first post but it continues that "physically it is in good condition, and possessed of a remarkably fine tone. For these special reasons, I believe a replacement value of this violin would be $25,000". My director is selling it because he feels that it can benefit me as a player. HE IS NOT in the least bit cynical, so I just feel like he's helping me out. Also, I know that he realizes that many appraisers tend to go over retail price so that the person owning the violin will be happy and they can collect a little more for commission. 

 

The appraisal was done in 2002 and that was after it had been set up. The papers does not say how extensive the varnishing was, but it does say "The Varnish, much retouched, has a reddish brown color, somewhat darker on the Top". I have talked to my director and all he can tell me is that he bought it in Europe and that is based off its tone.

 

The sound is amazing! It is warm yet powerful and VERY even. I haven't played an instrument that was as balanced as this ever in my life. It sings and responds like a well set up modern instrument and has the power and complexity as some Italian masterpieces (maybe a little exaggerated, but it is pretty amazing)!

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Haha, it didn't destroy my hopes. The more I look at this, the more Guarneri-ish it looks. My director has given me more information that it is from a professor in Europe about 15 years ago. Any other thoughts?

The name A. Fracalossi may be this link http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=21924 There was a violin and bow maker in Italy by the name of Arturo Fracassi.

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"The appraisal of the instrument was by Harry. A Duffy if that helps at all"

 

Yes that helps. Mr. Duffy used to work for Wurlitzer. His business is in Florida: maybe he still works there.

Did the certificate say anything about the country or region of origin? I have never seen a certificate that

did not at least indicate where the violin was made or at least possibly made. But then I have only seen a few certificates

in person and a few more on the net.

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It wasn't a certificate that identified the violin, it was just an appraisal. It did not mention anything about origin or possible origin or maker(s). Still no idea? 

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My main concern is if this violin is a cottage factory instrument.

 
 
I hope you won’t mind me pointing out that “cottage factory (instrument)” is a perfect oxymoron.
 
Having now just looked at the second lot of photos you posted, which I hadn’t noticed before, I can’t help seeing several Vogtland/Egerland features, such as the beveled of f wings or (it seems) the lightly beveled off rib corner. Just because I have never seen one from there with ebony edges, doesn’t mean there can’t be any. I still think the scroll is later, I’m afraid.

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Mr. Duffy moved to California many years ago and died a few years back.  If his shop in Florida is still active it's probably his ex-wife Barbara who runs it.  A very nice lady.  His certs would probably not be the most honored, IMO.

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To be blunt, there's a lot of alarm bells ringing on this post, and a lot of people very politely trying to pour cold water on this deal.

Have your teacher agree to an up to date appraisal on the basis that you have legitimate questions about what it is, from a respected dealer who can actually examine it in his hands. If it upholds a $7500 value, whatever it is, then you are fine. Otherwise you can either walk away from it or negotiate a reasonable price.

Are you really so special to your teacher that he is willing to sacrifice more than $10,000 just because you are a promising student?

Just get to a violin shop and try a few other instruments before you settle on this one.

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To be blunt, there's a lot of alarm bells ringing on this post, and a lot of people very politely trying to pour cold water on this deal.

Have your teacher agree to an up to date appraisal on the basis that you have legitimate questions about what it is, from a respected dealer who can actually examine it in his hands. If it upholds a $7500 value, whatever it is, then you are fine. Otherwise you can either walk away from it or negotiate a reasonable price.

Are you really so special to your teacher that he is willing to sacrifice more than $10,000 just because you are a promising student?

Just get to a violin shop and try a few other instruments before you settle on this one.

 

Thank you all so much for your honesty. I post here for the truth as I do know that the violin world has some serious hidden issues that I am not fully aware of. There is no need to be polite, as I do value every single comment and every bit of input. I will ask my director to get an updated appraisal if he can, and if not, I'll continue to seriously evaluate the situation.

 

I probably am not that special and there probably are other background reasons why he is pricing it much under the appraisal. However, out of respect for his authority and his ethics, I will not question it.

I have tried many violins at other shops and I just can't find anything as sweet and almost culling as this instrument. Projection does worry me, but no instrument is perfect, well not one I have found yet in my price range.

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The bow looks like a better quality Brazilian trade bow - so far I have found these bows to be amazing value for money.

We sell these for around £7-800 depending on the refinement of the fittings - so $1350 doesn't seem excessive. Perhaps we should put our price up!

You say it has no silver, but I assume you are referring to the MoP inlay rather than the metal parts, which look like silver to me ... if they're nickel then the price is too high!

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I mean that there is no silver backplate. The MoP continues from the slide and is the backplate. It really is a joy to play, it beat several John Norwood Lee bows as well as lesser known French makers.

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I have a few violins that I would consider in this "catagory".  They are old(200+yrs), "kinda been through it",possible hybrid scroll, no attribtion but good guesses as the region,and sound nice-with some caveats.  Price range on these seems to be in the $4-8K range, so l would get that appaisel, and make your decision on that and how it relates to the sound/playability (assuming structural integrety is solid).  I'm starting to learn what I think are the pricing catagories, and this seems like one.  More money would mean a more solid attribution as to maker, or area that is more commonly paid more for etc (french,italian). Ben,Jacob, Martin, Jerry...does this sound right?    jeff

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