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    • john

      Read the rules at the top of this page before posting.   12/30/16

      The rules are copied here for your convenience: The Auction Scroll is for sharing opinions on instruments listed and offered for sale online on this site or any other. It is for the civil exchange of ideas and opinions about the instruments themselves. The opinions expressed are solely those of the poster, and do not represent the opinion of Maestronet or its forum moderators. Personal attacks on individuals will not be tolerated and will result in banning from participation in the forums. For example you are free to state that in your opinion a certain instrument labelled such and such is or is not authentic. You can also support your opinion with facts as you see them, as long as you make no reference to the individual or company listing the instrument or use hearsay in your argument. You cannot say for example that such and such an instrument is not authentic because you know the individual listing the instrument is not trustworthy or you believe the company routinely uses false descriptions of its instruments. That will get you banned. Similarly, you can defend the authenticity of an instrument with the facts as you see them, as long as personal attacks and hearsay are not used. For example, you could refer to the shape of the f holes in support of a certain origin, but what you cannot do is attack any individuals that may hold a different opinion. This is a unique forum, so please abide by these rules to ensure it continues in its current form.
Star Sweeper

Ebay violin ID

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I recently bought this violin on ebay, and it just got here today. I know that labels aren't reliable for identifying violins in general (and apparently this seller has a reputation for inserting fake labels) so I was wondering what the best way was to figure out its real age?

 

I might not be looking hard enough/ not know what to look for, but I don't think I see a neck graft..

 

Any help would be great :)

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Thanks for sharing!  

It is hard to see from the photos on the original listing whether it has a neck graft or not.  In general, the dark color and shininess make it hard to see details like that in the photos.  The tailpiece is pretty with that inlay flower.  Yes, fake labels are his MO.  

I'm not one to care for looks or provenance.  How does it sound?  

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Not a Kloz, not Mittenwald, not even close. BOB, no notch, 2-piece lower rib, button entirely wrong.  Some stylistic nods toward Mittenwald in plate shaping, but crudely done.  Without the gratuitous pejoratives, one agrees with Jacob.  For a cottage Markie, I've seen worse.  The grain between neck and pegbox is continuous, no sigh of a graft.  Antiqued by a vandal, and revarnished by a doofus.  What does it sound like?

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Wish it was warm enough to rain here... :(

 

Brr...we have -16 C, windchill = -30 C.  Where is the blue emoticon?

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Well, I think it's really pretty- at least which is the reason I bought it :)

 

It is a cheap & nasty product of the Schönbach Cottage industy, c. end of 19th. C

 

It may be cheaply made, but I don't think there is any reason to call it nasty :blink: I will go a little more research about what "Schönbach Cottage industy" is though.

 

Thanks for sharing!  

It is hard to see from the photos on the original listing whether it has a neck graft or not.  In general, the dark color and shininess make it hard to see details like that in the photos.  The tailpiece is pretty with that inlay flower.  Yes, fake labels are his MO.  

I'm not one to care for looks or provenance.  How does it sound?  

 

I haven't had a chance to really play it since yesterday when I got it. I got to tune it a little bit but that's it. I'm playing it later today along with a new bow I got. I'm pretty excited about it no matter where it came from, but I am pretty curious- even if it did come from a factory somewhere.

 

 

One would think that in his workshop he would have a brown/black varnish branded BASSCLEF, and a 800-grit sanding sponge...

 

Not a Kloz, not Mittenwald, not even close. BOB, no notch, 2-piece lower rib, button entirely wrong.  Some stylistic nods toward Mittenwald in plate shaping, but crudely done.  Without the gratuitous pejoratives, one agrees with Jacob.  For a cottage Markie, I've seen worse.  The grain between neck and pegbox is continuous, no sigh of a graft.  Antiqued by a vandal, and revarnished by a doofus.  What does it sound like?

 

 

I've only been playing violin a few years and I don't understand most of the terms you guys are using, so I guess I'll do a little Googling :)

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Well, I think it's really pretty- at least which is the reason I bought it :)

 

 

It may be cheaply made, but I don't think there is any reason to call it nasty :blink: I will go a little more research about what "Schönbach Cottage industy" is though.

 

 

I haven't had a chance to really play it since yesterday when I got it. I got to tune it a little bit but that's it. I'm playing it later today along with a new bow I got. I'm pretty excited about it no matter where it came from, but I am pretty curious- even if it did come from a factory somewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

I've only been playing violin a few years and I don't understand most of the terms you guys are using, so I guess I'll do a little Googling :)

There are numerous posts on MN (mostly by Jacob S.) dealing with the identification of Saxon and Mittenwald fiddles, as well as with discriminating between the two.  The term "BOB", stands for "built-on-back", meaning an instrument built without a supporting mold (you can go read more about it elsewhere), which is the method characteristic of pre-1920's Saxons (though occasionally used by other traditions).  Mittenwald exclusively used inside molds instead.  The way to tell the difference from a cursory external glance is to see whether the rib corners extend even with the outside edges of the plate corners, which is a dead giveaway for BOB. 

 

It didn't come from a factory as you would probably define one.  It was most likely hand made by someone who did this on the side in addition to farming, then sold cheaply to a wholesaler who marketed it abroad.

 

My comments on the antiquing and finishing (which appear to long postdate the making) are aimed at the arschgeigisher Rindvieh  who committed it, and hopefully is reading this. :P  Emphatically not aimed at you or the (long deceased) maker.

 

If you like it, and how it plays and sounds, that's the only real measure of "good" or "fine" in this price range. :)  Still, live and learn.  Some of the folks posting have done much better for much less money, but admittedly had to put much skilled work into their treasures. ;)^_^

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It didn't come from a factory as you would probably define one.  It was most likely hand made by someone who did this on the side in addition to farming, then sold cheaply to a wholesaler who marketed it abroad.

 

My comments on the antiquing and finishing (which appear to long postdate the making) are aimed at the arschgeigisher Rindvieh  who committed it, and hopefully is reading this. :P  Emphatically not aimed at you or the (long deceased) maker.

 

Some notes:

 

You're referring to a period most prob. before the date of making this artefact.

 

It wasn't made by someone, but in a division of labour shop with specialised workmen, -women or -children for each part of the whole.

 

In the assumed period ca. 1900 they did use powertools, possibly some milling machines, so not pure handmade.

 

The screwdriver antiquing and broadbrushed varnishing was integral part of the production of this, from the start, and wasn't added somehow later. Those Rindviecher are long time passed away, making their job for some Kreutzer or Pfennige wage, and probably not much interested in opinions about the artistic value of their labour.

 

It's not very probable, that a soundbox with a ca. 8mm thickness at the outer f might sound like an advanced violin, but this tank-like construction was surely helpful to keep it in this "amazing condition".

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Some notes:

 

You're referring to a period most prob. before the date of making this artefact.

 

It wasn't made by someone, but in a division of labour shop with specialised workmen, -women or -children for each part of the whole.

 

In the assumed period ca. 1900 they did use powertools, possibly some milling machines, so not pure handmade.

 

The screwdriver antiquing and broadbrushed varnishing was integral part of the production of this, from the start, and wasn't added somehow later. Those Rindviecher are long time passed away, making their job for some Kreutzer or Pfennige wage, and probably not much interested in opinions about the artistic value of their labour.

 

It's not very probable, that a soundbox with a ca. 8mm thickness at the outer f might sound like an advanced violin, but this tank-like construction was surely helpful to keep it in this "amazing condition".

It doesn't look like "circa 1900" to me, more like 1875-1880.  Without seeing the inside, there's a lot we cannot be sure of.  The thing also looks recently refinished to me.  None of my antique fiddles are anywhere near that shiny, and most period antiquing I see is far more subtle.  One bizarre touch is overdoing the faked holster case wear while not doing anything toward faking a graft.  Both totally false as well as "real but fake" grafts are more common on Markies than most people realize, so they had the skills to do either.  The absence of one here seems wrong to me. :)

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It doesn't look like "circa 1900" to me, more like 1875-1880.  Without seeing the inside, there's a lot we cannot be sure of. 

 

Taking the risk of appearing to be arrogant, I'm sure that it's more likely from the 1900er or 10er years, just claiming that I've seen too much of this stuff with those hilarious edgy fluted ff, squarish (possibly milled) arching and roughly applied varnish and antiquing. To take randomly just one single feature like a fake graft to draw conclusions isn't science but esoteric. :D

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Taking the risk of appearing to be arrogant, I'm sure that it's more likely from the 1900er or 10er years, just claiming that I've seen too much of this stuff with those hilarious edgy fluted ff, squarish (possibly milled) arching and roughly applied varnish and antiquing. To take randomly just one single feature like a fake graft to draw conclusions isn't science but esoteric. :D

You?  Arrogant?  Naaaahhhh. :P:lol:

 

We have a difficulty in need of discussion in a separate thread, which is that the ocean in between us may have made a wonderful subtype selector at the times these things were being made.  I have an unbroken series of German trade fiddles from circa 1870 down to 1950's Scherl & Roth's, procured here in USA, and in that sequence, Saxon knockoffs of Mittenwald "Stainers" are early rather than late, Stubby corners and deep edge carving disappears by 1900-1910 in favor of shallower Strad-ish looking styling, and blatant machining takes the place of hand carving for many operations.  Perhaps your available fiddles differ from that sequence, or perhaps you are mistaken.

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I recently bought this violin on ebay, and it just got here today. I know that labels aren't reliable for identifying violins in general (and apparently this seller has a reputation for inserting fake labels) so I was wondering what the best way was to figure out its real age?

 

I might not be looking hard enough/ not know what to look for, but I don't think I see a neck graft..

 

Any help would be great :)

My condolences. For 900 I can sell you very good sounding instrument approx same age, Saxon with 100% guaranty and return. And you can choose out from at least 5-8 instruments on tryout period. And I sure many of people here can do same, if you ask. My suggestion for next time - Ask first, buy later. And that guy is fraud, he will sooner or later be punished, I do not why how, but I'm sure.

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BTW, Star Sweeper, welcome to MN. :)  Just what do you sweep the stars with?  I use a Meade 8"  SCT myself. ^_^

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I remember that one of MNs most illustrious members posted that there were many of these Saxon fiddles doing the rounds in professional orchestras. On the flip side another posted that there are some 'crap strads'.

 

Hope it sounds nice Star Sweeper for your $600. You didn't get too burned...unlike the outward appearance of the fiddle.  

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Well...you can quibble about the date or not. You might have overpaid...but if so, not by much.

If it plays well and you are happy playing it - then it is all good. If you enjoy the appearance of it...bonus. We can't all like exactly the same thing. A world without variety! How dull that would be?

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Well...you can quibble about the date or not. You might have overpaid...but if so, not by much.

If it plays well and you are happy playing it - then it is all good. If you enjoy the appearance of it...bonus. We can't all like exactly the same thing. A world without variety! How dull that would be?

Amen, to most of that. :)  The issue of Markie stylistic changes and whether the current geographical distribution of fiddles for sale is distorted by who sold what, when and where in the past, is only "quibbling" if one considers Markies (and other "rubbish") unworthy of study in the first place.  I consider it quite likely that Blankie and I have different pools of antique fiddles readily accessible due to the influence of mail order catalog sales in the USA (as well as German immigration and commercial influence) during the heyday of Mark/Schoen trade fiddle production.  I already strongly suspect that the rarity of Mirecourt fiddles in the US, compared to the UK, was a result of availability to consumers, influenced by wholesale buyer preferences.

 

If the "Stainer" influenced style Saxon was still being commonly marketed on its home turf at a time when it had become rare in other markets, this would have some effect on dating. :)

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I'm learning a lot here. Pretty sure spouse's grandma's thick violin must be a BOB. I wondered about why the ribs extended to the edge of the top and bottom and now I know why. I assumed it was mail ordered sometime in the 1930s, but could also have been around earlier. It doesn't sound great.

 

I know some luthiers will take these older models and thin out the belly. How big an operation is something like that? Is improving the sound on an old violin like this a $500, $1000+ operation?

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I haven't had a chance to really play it since yesterday when I got it. I got to tune it a little bit but that's it. I'm playing it later today along with a new bow I got. I'm pretty excited about it no matter where it came from, but I am pretty curious- even if it did come from a factory somewhere.

 

 

 

It sounds like you are satisfied with the price you paid and how it looks.  Sound yet TBD once you get a chance to play it more.  Be sure to give it enough time to open up before passing a judgment.  Also, I have, anecdotally, found that instruments that have not been played in awhile sound good initially, then go through a rough phase, before opening up to a good sound again.  A lot of what people say on here can be negative, but they are speaking just from their own perspectives and standards.  Remember that if you hare happy with the instrument and the experience, that is all that matters. :)  I also find the history of instruments very interesting, regardless of value or provenance.  They are a functional antique.  It's made it this far not being used as firewood for some reason, right?   :P   

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