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Hi all,


I am currently looking to purchase a new cello. I'd like to gather some opinions on the instrument (can someone let me know how to upload photos?) and its authenticity. 

I am a player myself and know relatively little about makers and origins.

It has rather large F-holes and a beautiful one-piece back (maple). The label reads:


"Joannes Valletianus fecit Matrito anno 1799". 


Has anyone heard of this maker or seen and of his work? 

The varnish is mainly orange with hints of deeper red. The varnish on back is slightly harder and shinier. The back length is 752 mm. 

It has a fantastic sound (very rich and deep bass. Recently performed it alongside a G.B. Gabrielli instrument - the sound qualities were similar). 


I will post photos as soon as I understand how. 


Thanks a lot!


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I believe that's thought to be a latinized label used by Giovanni Maria Valenzano, correct?  Someone correct me if I'm mistaken. 


If I'm correct, I've seen a good number of violins and one very nice 'cello by the maker.


If I assume these are being represented as authentic (the Gabrielli and this 'cello), you're looking at 6 figure 'cellos, correct?  I take it you're working with qualified professionals (dealers, appraisers, and restorers)?  They should be able to provide you with any existing expertise concerning the instrument.  If they are unable, you should seek out some independent assistance (private, not internet)... and you may want to do that in any case.


If the instruments are for sale (especially privately or through a dealer), I'd be a little reluctant to comment on photos of them in an open, public access, forum...  You may want to reconsider exposing them in that manner as well.  They are not your property.

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Thanks for your replies. 

Jeffrey, I appreciate your concern and should have been more clear about my intentions with the post. The cello is being sold by a university conservatory that has owned it for the past several decades. It has no certifications and the school acquired it as a gift. I am in contact with the Director of the conservatory – he has asked that I try to gather some opinions on the cello before they consider selling it (I enquired about the sale of the cello after playing it). The institute is aware that I am sending photos to external parties. 

I have already taken the cello to several shops in my area. It has had some substantial repairs (sound post cracks in front and back, bass bar crack) and there is speculation as to its origins. I've linked some photos below... Thanks again! 



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I'd also say german production. The color of the wood of the scroll where the varnish is thin is slightly greenish This makes me suspect it was treated with some acid, doesn't nitric acid turn the wood greyish green? I wouldn't be surprised of at least the flame on the scroll is caused by treatment with something like that. If you look at the left/treble side of the scroll, I think I see that the treatment didn't succeed uniformly well. The purfling is set in rather far from the edge in a way that I feel s similar to a cello a student of mine plays, the varnish is not unsimilar in appearance either (the appearance on the yellower pictures). It doesn't look like a bad cello, but to me it doesn't look like a fantastoc one either. The one piece back is quite attractive!


I'm only a player and not a connoiseur at all. I hope to get the discussion started.


What could help is a picture of a corner of the ribs, to establish how the ribs were constructed.

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  • 6 years later...

Hi, Wood Butcher,

I am writing a short article about Giovanni Maria Valenzano's stay in Madrid (Spain) between 1797 and 1800 and this was one of the instruments he must have built during this period and the only one of which, it seems, there are photographs. The 2014 post also does not identify its exact location.  I would appreciate any information about this instrument.

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  • 1 month later...

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