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Kallie

Violin and Bow ID

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Any ideas on this violin and bow? The violin seems like the usual to me, but the seal at the button is strange. And the lack of purfling. The front and sides seems to have been revarnished. The graft looks fake. No corner blocks. 

The bow is rather interesting (to me, atleast). Any ideas?

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I wonder if someone hung it up on the wall (as a decoration, or for convenience)... and then sealed the hole with wax at some point?

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I should also mention  that the "cracks" you see (the black lines) arent real cracks. It looks like it was scratched on, and dirt was rubbed into the scrathes prior to varnishing. Ive seen this on lots of "antiqued" violins, particularly those labeled as Amati or Schweitzer.

 

Also, the bass bar is glued in, and the top is finished on the inside - no gauge marks left like on some Saxon violins.

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We've been over the jumps with Herr Saunders about these seals before, if real, it would say more about the owner than about the maker.  My suspicion is that it's one with the fake graft and cracks, and we are looking at an antiqued later 19th. Century German.  Without specific corner, endpin, and rear scroll photos, I won't go farther than that.

 

The bow looks to me to be a German factory bow.

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The cracks on the back look real to me; as well as the graft. The poor wood of the top and the scratched purfiling are, for me, the sign of the, rather old, amateur work.

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Any ideas on what the bow frog is made of? Ivory? Also, that stamp/brand on the tip of the bow, does that point to anything?

 

Im adding more photos of the violin. By having a close look, the seal is a picture of a woman's face looking up to the right. It is difficult to get it clear in a photo. Hope these will help.

 

This violin has a lovely shaped fingerboard. One of the best Ive seen on German violins, and the neck angle is near perfect (which I still havnt seen on any of the Trade violins that Ive worked on)

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The cracks on the back look real to me; as well as the graft. The poor wood of the top and the scratched purfiling are, for me, the sign of the, rather old, amateur work.

 

Im almost certain the cracks arent real. Same with the graft. The neck and scroll wood grains almost line up perfectly, plus inside the pegbox there is no evidence of a neck being glued to a scroll.

The poor wood quality for the top is a pity, really. The back looks very appealing.

 

Can anyone confirm/comment on my thought that the top and ribs are revarnished? There looks to be sandpaper scratches (or dull scraper) marks on the ribs, and front.

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The “seal” is a Classical (Greek or Roman) face, in profile.  Not armorial in the least.  It might have been a generic seal, but I doubt it, because the impression is concave, not the usual convex.  It might have been made with a stamped button.  

 

Anyway, it is in no way a useful identifier, except to whoever put the seal on.  It is entirely possible that it was done to make the violin look old and valuable, or it could be an owner’s favorite coat button.

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I forgot to add, the arching does not appear to be the normal german trade violin work. It does seem more "amateurish".

 

 

The frog looks like ivory to me.  The brand is graffiti.  

 

Do bows like these have any value?

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Well, ivory or not, it’s still an unknown nickel-mounted bow with a huge burn mark.  

 

Anyhow, here’s a Nike head on a Roman coin from 77 BC.

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IMHO, going by the usual points to examine, Saxon work from 1885 or so that's been intentionally, but amateurishly, antiqued.  The "wear" on the rear of the scroll rather amusingly has distressed varnish and stain applied to an area on the center flute that should have been rubbed raw instead, for instance.  Please string it up and tell us how it sounds and plays  :)

 

Sesterium et pro cogitationibus vestris, Addius.  :)

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IMHO, going by the usual points to examine, Saxon work from 1885 or so that's been intentionally, but amateurishly, antiqued.  The "wear" on the rear of the scroll rather amusingly has distressed varnish and stain applied to an area on the center flute that should have been rubbed raw instead, for instance.  Please string it up and tell us how it sounds and plays  :)

 

Ive strung it up, and the tone is surprisingly good. Clear, warm, but rather "damped" and soft. I removed the top to look at and repair some rib damage, and discovered the top is extremely heavy and thick. In the soundpost area the thickness is 4.8mm average. . . Im thinking of regraduating the top plate, and thinning it down quite a bit to acceptable thickness (around 2.2mm?). Im sure this violin can sound very good if this is done. Any advice regarding this? Should it be left as is?

 

 

Secondly, Im also thinking of re-doing the varnish ON THE FRONT AND RIBS- but only if it is determined that it has been done already, and that the looks you see wasnt intentional - but rather done by an amateur removing the original varnish with sandpaper and putting this varnish on. If this is the original varnish, I wouldnt want to re-do it.

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Bow looks very much like the typical Mark/Schon bow with a bone frog. However, that one pic from the side makes me think different.  Not sure, but the bow/frog is definately a "budget" product.  Violin looks like it has been refinished to me, not sure of the origin-the marked purfling definately throws me off the the direction I was going.  jeff

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Sorry, I didn't think the origin was in question. It's Mark/Schön unless there are no linings. The bow is, as well. It looks like ivory to me, but you can see it is two slabs over an ebony core. Bone has pores, ivory has grain.

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My uneducated guess is that the whole fiddle, apart from the pegbox and scroll, has been revarnished. I'm suspecting that at that point the fake "antiquing", if that is how you wish to call the scratches (mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if they were an accident!), was done. I'm also thinking that when taking off the old varnish, the fake purfling might have lost some of its depth and therefore now is less visble than it once was. I'm wondering if the top is a replacement, to me it looks like very wide year rings for a spruce top, even if it were Schoenbach/markneukirchen work. I suspect that the fiddle would have looked like the scroll, what varnish is concerned. This really dark varnish is quite common on older german fiddles. I must again stress these are UNEDUCATED guesses from a player.

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My uneducated guess is that the whole fiddle, apart from the pegbox and scroll, has been revarnished. I'm suspecting that at that point the fake "antiquing", if that is how you wish to call the scratches (mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if they were an accident!), was done. I'm also thinking that when taking off the old varnish, the fake purfling might have lost some of its depth and therefore now is less visble than it once was. I'm wondering if the top is a replacement, to me it looks like very wide year rings for a spruce top, even if it were Schoenbach/markneukirchen work. I suspect that the fiddle would have looked like the scroll, what varnish is concerned. This really dark varnish is quite common on older german fiddles. I must again stress these are UNEDUCATED guesses from a player.

 

Thank you for your thoughts. I was also thinking that the top might be a replacement. The inside looks very clean. No dirt whatsoever apart from the black stain which went through the f-holes.

 

It is my thoughts that the back is the only part which havnt been re-varnished. These fake cracks, as Ive mentioned above, can be seen on alot of old Saxon violins. Especially those labeled as Amati of JB Shweitzer.

 

In the current varnish on this violin, the only part which doesnt have sandpaper scratches underneath the varnish is the back. The sides and the top both have the scratches, which led me to believe these parts was revarnished.

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