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Setoise

What's it worth?

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I’m looking for the current value of a violin made by Friedrich Wilhelm Meisel in 1782 in I believe Quittenbach, Saxony. I am aware of the violin maker’s  reputation (not exactly one of the greatest)  but perhaps this antique violin from the 18th Century may have some value to a collector. The violin has been in my family for around 80 years.  I am considering selling it as I'm a musician but not a violinist.  Any information would be very helpful. Thank you in advance for your opinion.

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Edited by Setoise
Corrects date from 1783 to 1782.

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If one of the cracks hits the soundpost area (which is not clearly visible on this picture) I am afraid not much. Are those cracks repaired? 

It also looks very different to thr violin  made by Meisel I saw. Its not the best picture for an ID but my fealing about this label is not to good. I am just on my mobile right now, but shape seams to be not strange enough and the scroll way to edgy on a first look. Also the varnish looks other than I remember. Ill have a look if I can find some pictures later on. You could post some pictures like described in the pinned thread. 

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It looks like old saxon from about that time. Condition is probably a more important value driver than exactly who made it. It looks like it has a sound post crack on the top. How that was repaired would be important to me. Does it have an inlayed patch? The scroll might not be original, and there could be other major condition issues many of which could decrease the value to only a few hundred bucks or less.

But if the top was repaired ok and it has no other major issues, maybe around a 1000 or more at an auction house like Tarisio. Just a guess but I watch all of the auctions and look at stuff like this. It would be very hard to get a lot of cash from a dealer. And you would have to luck out big time to connect with an individual who has been holding out for a Meisel and is confident its real.

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Also, MN is a great place to discuss a violin's origin, but not its monetary value. You will often get wildly varying estimates that are highly subjective, and based on limited knowledge of a violin's actual condition.

It would be best to take it to a professional dealer or auction house to get an estimate.

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19 minutes ago, WorksAsIntended said:

If one of the cracks hits the soundpost area (which is not clearly visible on this picture) I am afraid not much. Are those cracks repaired? 

It also looks very different to thr violin  made by Meisel I saw. Its not the best picture for an ID but my fealing about this label is not to good. I am just on my mobile right now, but shape seams to be not strange enough and the scroll way to edgy on a first look. Also the varnish looks other than I remember. Ill have a look if I can find some pictures later on. You could post some pictures like described in the pinned thread. 

Hello and thanks for your help. Was the violin you saw made by Friedrich Wilhelm Meisel? From what I've read, the Meisels were a family of violin makers and there were a number of them, such as Christian Friedrich, Johann Christoph, Johann George.

There is a repair ticket dated 1911 from a Berlin firm called Neuner on Lutzow Str. 86.

I took the violin to a Luthier in Montpellier, France.  He wrote the following description. Sorry, it's in French but perhaps you can understand it.

   Violon de fabrication allemande 18ème siècle portant une étiquette de Friedrich Wilhelm et une autre de réparation de L. Neuner à Berlin de. Fond en érable maillé en deux parties sans onde de 35,6 cm de longueur
Eclisse du même bois mais avec onde fine et régulière
Table en épicéa à veine très serrée à moyenne vers les bords
Tête sans onde avec enture et rebouchages des trous de chevilles et pièce sur volute
Vernis brun orangé transparent et uni
Instrument original dans toutes ses parties et en état de jeu.
Fond et éclisses en très bon état excepté une trace de vers anciennement rebouchée sur l’éclisse du haut coté grave, la table présente de nombreuses fractures anciennement restaurées dont une fracture d’âme avec pièce d’âme.

The violin was used by my father who played on Broadway and later served as a member of the United States Marine Band in Washington DC during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. I suspect the sound isn't too bad, if he used it to play in the White House in the 60s and 70s. I'll post some more pictures. Once again, thanks for your help.

 

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36 minutes ago, deans said:

It looks like old saxon from about that time. Condition is probably a more important value driver than exactly who made it. It looks like it has a sound post crack on the top. How that was repaired would be important to me. Does it have an inlayed patch? The scroll might not be original, and there could be other major condition issues many of which could decrease the value to only a few hundred bucks or less.

But if the top was repaired ok and it has no other major issues, maybe around a 1000 or more at an auction house like Tarisio. Just a guess but I watch all of the auctions and look at stuff like this. It would be very hard to get a lot of cash from a dealer. And you would have to luck out big time to connect with an individual who has been holding out for a Meisel and is confident its real.

Hi Deans.  Thank you for your help. I don't believe it has an inlayed patch.  I'm sorry, I am not a violinist and have to plead ignorance regarding the technical aspects of violins. I will post some more pictures which may help you determine the condition. If the violin isn't worth much, I'll probably keep it.

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57 minutes ago, Jeff Jetson said:

Hi Setoise and welcome to Maestronet.

I am wondering why there is no fine tuner for the E string.

Hi Jeff. Nice name; say as mine. I'm afraid I'm not smart enough to answer your question.  Perhaps someone else knows. Thanks for your input.

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51 minutes ago, Setoise said:

Violon de fabrication allemande 18ème siècle portant une étiquette de Friedrich Wilhelm et une autre de réparation de L. Neuner à Berlin de. Fond en érable maillé en deux parties sans onde de 35,6 cm de longueur
Eclisse du même bois mais avec onde fine et régulière
Table en épicéa à veine très serrée à moyenne vers les bords
Tête sans onde avec enture et rebouchages des trous de chevilles et pièce sur volute
Vernis brun orangé transparent et uni
Instrument original dans toutes ses parties et en état de jeu.
Fond et éclisses en très bon état excepté une trace de vers anciennement rebouchée sur l’éclisse du haut coté grave, la table présente de nombreuses fractures anciennement restaurées dont une fracture d’âme avec pièce d’âme.

Unedited Google translation:

"Violin of German manufacture 18th century bearing a label of Friedrich Wilhelm and another of repair of L. Neuner in Berlin of. Two-part mesh-free mesh background of 35.6 cm length
Eclipse of the same wood but with fine and regular wave
Squared spruce table with medium to narrow edges
Head without wave with filling and filling of the holes of ankles and piece on volute
Clear and transparent orange-brown varnish
Original instrument in all its parts and in working condition.
Bottom and sides in very good condition except for a trace of worms formerly plugged on the splint of the high low side, the table presents many fractures formerly restored including a fracture of soul with piece of soul."

Yes, these translations can be pretty funny. "A fracture of the soul" is very poetic and sad.

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10 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Yes, these translations can be pretty funny. "A fracture of the soul" is very poetic and sad.

But the "fracture of the soul" was restored "with a piece of soul"

I do like a happy ending.

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My french is not the best but I understand enough (more than using google translator). 

The new pictures look much more like a "real" Friedrich Wilhelm Meisel. Its a nice violin and I dont think that the label is a fake anymore (although I cannot tell anything for sure). 

Thinking about selling, this is a violin which needs to be sold in a context where it can be tested. The value attainable in a internet auction where people just go for names and looks will be much lower because of the numerous repairs. If the sound is really good, you may hope for it thinking of its history, it might sell much higher at a luthier or a violin shop.  

It should be checked too! It seems like it has been played a lot, even that tailpiece looks heavily worn. 

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I might increase my outlook with the new pics. But its hard to value without actually putting on the market. A dealer could give you an insurance appraisal or replacement value. But the amount of cash you could get out of it at any place/time is hard to say.

I think your best bet would be at auction, and it would probably would sell in the low thousands based on what I see.

 

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16 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Unedited Google translation:

"Violin of German manufacture 18th century bearing a label of Friedrich Wilhelm and another of repair of L. Neuner in Berlin of. Two-part mesh-free mesh background of 35.6 cm length
Eclipse of the same wood but with fine and regular wave
Squared spruce table with medium to narrow edges
Head without wave with filling and filling of the holes of ankles and piece on volute
Clear and transparent orange-brown varnish
Original instrument in all its parts and in working condition.
Bottom and sides in very good condition except for a trace of worms formerly plugged on the splint of the high low side, the table presents many fractures formerly restored including a fracture of soul with piece of soul."

Yes, these translations can be pretty funny. "A fracture of the soul" is very poetic and sad.

Thank you for the translation George. When I ran the text through Google Translate last year, it made no sense.

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10 hours ago, WorksAsIntended said:

My french is not the best but I understand enough (more than using google translator). 

The new pictures look much more like a "real" Friedrich Wilhelm Meisel. Its a nice violin and I dont think that the label is a fake anymore (although I cannot tell anything for sure). 

Thinking about selling, this is a violin which needs to be sold in a context where it can be tested. The value attainable in a internet auction where people just go for names and looks will be much lower because of the numerous repairs. If the sound is really good, you may hope for it thinking of its history, it might sell much higher at a luthier or a violin shop.  

It should be checked too! It seems like it has been played a lot, even that tailpiece looks heavily worn. 

Actually there is a little history associated with this violin. This picture was taken November 27, 1962 at the White House. The little boy is John Kennedy Jr. The Marine bandsman holding this  violin is my father. Thank you again for your help.

Dad_and_JJ.JPG

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10 hours ago, deans said:

I might increase my outlook with the new pics. But its hard to value without actually putting on the market. A dealer could give you an insurance appraisal or replacement value. But the amount of cash you could get out of it at any place/time is hard to say.

I think your best bet would be at auction, and it would probably would sell in the low thousands based on what I see.

 

Thank you Deans. I have an appraisal from a luthier in Montpellier who valued it at 10K Euros, which I find difficult to believe, but I think he knows more about violins from Mirecourt than Saxony. I supposed 3K would be a more reasonable amount and this is more in line with your estimate. I'll see if I'm now able to insert more pictures. I really appreciate your help.

Meisel4.jpg

Meisel5.jpg

Meisel6.jpg

Meisel7.jpg

Meisel8.jpg

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This is a violin from the Vogtland region, possibly Klingenthal or Quittenbach, which are places only a short footwalk away from each other. It could be from the late 18th century as well as from the early 19th, what won't make a big difference and is usually very hard to tell apart.

The Meisel label is one of the fake printings of the later 19th century, which were available on big sheets and put into literary spoken millions of violins. A genuine Meisel label would unvariably have imprinted letters, not water solvable as here, and would be printed on different, hand made paper. Beside that, it would have been stuck at a very different place.

But, as described above, all this makers lived close together, apprenticed each other, married within the guild and were in this way close related, so it's not very important if the violin is a Meisel, a Hoyer, a Schlosser or whatever.

Ludwig Neuner of Berlin was a very good maker, a descendant of an old Mittenwald dynasty, apprenticed at Vuillaume's shop and later owner of the Neuner & Hornsteiner firm; he or his employees might have made the neck graft and a soundpost patch, but not the amateurish looking repairs, which caused varnish loss and the puzzled appearance of the belly.

In a better condition such a violin could sell at an auction for a very, very low thousand sum, but in the actual state I'm guessing that the costs of a proper restoration are at every place of the world higher than any virtual value afterwards, so a reasonable buyer would pay rather a very, very low hundred sum only, or even less IMO.

If it's your family violin, you should consider to keep it as a piece of memory or wait untill there's a need for it by a relative or friend.

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41 minutes ago, Blank face said:

This is a violin from the Vogtland region, possibly Klingenthal or Quittenbach, which are places only a short footwalk away from each other. It could be from the late 18th century as well as from the early 19th, what won't make a big difference and is usually very hard to tell apart.

The Meisel label is one of the fake printings of the later 19th century, which were available on big sheets and put into literary spoken millions of violins. A genuine Meisel label would unvariably have imprinted letters, not water solvable as here, and would be printed on different, hand made paper. Beside that, it would have been stuck at a very different place.

But, as described above, all this makers lived close together, apprenticed each other, married within the guild and were in this way close related, so it's not very important if the violin is a Meisel, a Hoyer, a Schlosser or whatever.

Ludwig Neuner of Berlin was a very good maker, a descendant of an old Mittenwald dynasty, apprenticed at Vuillaume's shop and later owner of the Neuner & Hornsteiner firm; he or his employees might have made the neck graft and a soundpost patch, but not the amateurish looking repairs, which caused varnish loss and the puzzled appearance of the belly.

In a better condition such a violin could sell at an auction for a very, very low thousand sum, but in the actual state I'm guessing that the costs of a proper restoration are at every place of the world higher than any virtual value afterwards, so a reasonable buyer would pay rather a very, very low hundred sum only, or even less IMO.

If it's your family violin, you should consider to keep it as a piece of memory or wait untill there's a need for it by a relative or friend.

Very interesting and useful information Blankface. Thank you for your contribution. If the violin is not worth much, as you say, of course I'll keep it.

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Regardless of the value or origin, I must say that I find the shape of the f-holes artistically appealing visually, particularly the bass f-hole. It has a kind of surrealist shape.

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7 hours ago, Setoise said:

I have an appraisal from a luthier in Montpellier who valued it at 10K Euros, which I find difficult to believe, but I think he knows more about violins from Mirecourt than Saxony.

Ask he or she how much they would offer to buy it from you.

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Violon de fabrication allemande 18ème siècle portant une étiquette de Friedrich Wilhelm et une autre de réparation de L. Neuner à Berlin de. Fond en érable maillé en deux parties sans onde de 35,6 cm de longueur
Eclisse du même bois mais avec onde fine et régulière
Table en épicéa à veine très serrée à moyenne vers les bords
Tête sans onde avec enture et rebouchages des trous de chevilles et pièce sur volute
Vernis brun orangé transparent et uni
Instrument original dans toutes ses parties et en état de jeu.
Fond et éclisses en très bon état excepté une trace de vers anciennement rebouchée sur l’éclisse du haut coté grave, la table présente de nombreuses fractures anciennement restaurées dont une fracture d’âme avec pièce d’âme.

Google Translate:

Violin of German manufacture 18th century bearing a label of Friedrich Wilhelm and another of repair of L. Neuner in Berlin of. Two-part mesh-free mesh background of 35.6 cm length
Eclipse of the same wood but with fine and regular wave
Squared spruce table with medium to narrow edges
Head without wave with filling and filling of the holes of ankles and piece on volute
Clear and transparent orange-brown varnish
Original instrument in all its parts and in working condition.
Bottom and sides in very good condition except for a trace of worms formerly plugged on the splint of the high low side, the table presents many fractures formerly restored including a fracture of soul with piece of soul.

Setoise, Your violins history in your family is far more worth any money to me. thanks for posting and sharing

 

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