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THenry

Help identifying two inherited violins

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Dear All,

 

Recently my godfather passed away and left a fairly considerable number of assorted stringed instruments and bows to me in his will. Despite being a professional violinist I am woefully ignorant when it comes to identifying instruments and wondered whether anyone on here could help? These two violins seem to be the most recent in the collection and despite not having been played for about fifteen years are still incredibly responsive. Apologies for the quality of the photos, the lighting in the house is incredibly poor.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

http://imgur.com/a/jJwyj#0

 

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What else is in the collection of stringed instruments? Which are the oldest ones? What did your godfather do for a living? Did you inherit any violins that are superior to your violins? How are you dealing with the issue of storing this interesting collection? Were you aware that you were going to inherit the instruments or was it a surprise? I can't help with identification but am interested in any narrative that you are willing to share about your collection. Thank you for sharing and participating.

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Doing probate appraisals is, as often as not, one of the more depressing tasks. You seem to have two school violins from the Markneukirchen/Schönbach trade from the first half of the 20th. C., the light coloured one a little younger than the other

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I think Jacob is correct, but I don't see why it should be depressing. These are both higher grade examples and look like good serviceable instruments, probably worth well into the thousands of dollars, which is not insignificant for 95% of Americans. How do they play?

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Doing probate appraisals is, as often as not, one of the more depressing tasks. You seem to have two school violins from the Markneukirchen/Schönbach trade from the first half of the 20th. C., the light coloured one a little younger than the other

Sorry, but I don't see much about the second violin that speaks of Germany to me.

Care to point out what you see that leads you there?

No disrespect, I just don't see it.

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Sorry, but I don't see much about the second violin that speaks of Germany to me.

Care to point out what you see that leads you there?

No disrespect, I just don't see it.

I presume you mean the lighter coloured one when you say „second violin“??

It reminded me of what one might expect from the later Schönbach makers, or even some of the ones who were expelled post-war to Bubenreuth or Mittenwald

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I think Jacob is correct, but I don't see why it should be depressing.

Probate appraisals are (with very rare exceptions) depressing, since they nearly always oblige one to disappoint people. A while ago (in May I think?) I wrote a more detailed description of such an event that a notary dragged me too, should I find it I will provide a link. After all, were you to surprisingly inherit a couple of violins, you might like to get some that were rather nicer than those :)

PS. found it! post #18 here:

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/328793-does-this-look-like-a-hill-bow/#entry591922

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Yes, if I were to inherit a violin I'd like it to be nicer than those. But since I never inherited anything I don't think I'd be crying in my beer, they are a step above most of the fiddles people inherit in this country. They are at least usable and may actually be great players.

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I would be pleased as punch to inherit either of those 2 fiddles.  The second one has a Roman Teller c1970-80's look to it.

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Hi again,

 

Firstly thanks for all the replies, unfortunately as a new member I'm limited to making one post a day (which is admittedly fairly frustrating) so I'll try and answer any questions raised thus far and hope that helps.

 

BassClef: My godfather was a violist in a rather famous gypsy group in Hungary in his youth (they even performed for a Pope in the 60's). After that he became an instrument dealer and restorer in and around Budapest (though I wasn't old enough to really know him at this stage). Unfortunately he was heavily affected by the (premature) death of his wife and pretty much stopped working afterwards. About five years ago he gave me a very fine (unlabelled but with a Hill certificate) Francois Piqué that he said would suit my playing but I'd only ever seen his 'collection' a couple of times. There are nine violins, five violas and three 'cellos as well as quite a few assorted bows, there may well be more, most of these were kept in a pair of wardrobes stored in an unbelievably cluttered flat (filled with a lifetimes worth of furniture, books, photographs etc). I'll post some more pictures of the other instruments below.

 

jacobsaunders: Thanks for your comments. Out of interest I was wondering what led you to make that appraisal? He sold quite a few violins in his lifetime but intentionally held on to these ones although I realise it is quite possible that he thought they were something other than what they actually are. Would any tell-tale signs help with verification (corner blocks, rib corner joints etc)? I was going to post some pictures of the other violins below and wondered if you would be willing to take a glance at them also?

 

vathek: Only a few of the instruments have labels, the first violin in the album below has one reading Petrus Guarnerius Cremonensis fecit Mantua Sanctae Teresiae 1703, despite the label appearing rather old I can't see it being genuine. The final instrument in the album below is labelled Samuel Nemessányi fecit ad fornam, Joseph Guarneri pestini anno, 1873.

 

deans: The two originally posted are powerful and responsive across the whole register. Perhaps they are lacking in the kind of clarity although they have hardly been played for decades. Some of the others play quite beautifully.

 

Thanks again for all of your help. Below is link to the rest of the instruments. I'm returning this weekend so I may try and get some better photographs.

 

http://imgur.com/a/NpJS9#0c

 

 

 

 

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My comment about probate appraisals was probably appropriate here. One gets called out to visit “collections” that represent a life time of scouring Flea Markets for worn out old violins, which subsequently get re- and over varnished (seems to have happened here) and “improved”/manipulated, often beyond recognition. One is required by the probate court to ascertain the so-called “Verkehrswert”, i.e. What a bailiff could get, cash straight away, if he walked into a commercial violin shop with everything. The trouble is that any decent violin shop would not really be prepared to pay much if anything for most of it. Nowadays it is more bargain hunting private individuals who spend the whole evening scrolling through pages and pages of Ebay listings, in the forlorn hope that they could get something for nothing who are the only ones who can be expected to pay cash for such wares. The violin back on the 2nd. Last picture of your gallery for instance, looks quite interesting, but only if it doesn't belong to the belly on the 4th last picture etc.

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Hi Jacob, thanks for that. Do you think they'd be any financial sense in having them sensitively restored/ would such a thing be possible or would it simply be better to donate them to a local music service and be done with it?

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