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Paul Kessler, Markneukirchen


hungrycanine
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A local violin shows a label reading "Paul Kessler, Markneukirchen, Copy of Amati, made in Germany."  Kessler died in 1931 but the violin doesn't immediately appear to be 80+ years old. Aside from the ever-present question of the label's legitimacy, I'm wondering if a "company" continued using Kessler's name on instruments long after his death? Does anyone know about this? If so, your knowledge would be appreciated. Thank you.

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https://www.usedvictoria.com/classified-ad/44-violin-by-Paul-Kessler-Markneukirchen-Germany_31037982

I'd bet that's the one.  $270 Canadian sounds fair to me.  Yes, it's a trade violin, definitely 20th. Century.  Looks in excellent condition.  I'd date this pre-WW II, but not certain exactly when.

The (very large and prolific) Kessler family was making in  Markneukirchen from the 1700's forward, and some of them went very commercial as wholesalers from at least 1886.  Paul was labeling violins from 1908.  I'd expect that this didn't end in 1931, if they had any labels left when he died.  The most commonly (and still) abused Kessler labeling name is that of Johann Georg. :)

BTW, I'm among those here who wish that if you're going to ask about a violin currently being sold online, please link directly to the ad yourself, so we don't have to hunt it up.  Being sneaky about these things isn't helpful.  :lol:

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Yes, that's the violin in question. I've already asked the seller is he knew anything about the Kessler label that was relevant to determining the violin's age, but he did not. Nor did he have any other thoughts about its age. It does look quite decent for the asking price, doesn't it, in comparison to many "new" instruments available online. My post was really only seeking any further understanding of what a Paul Kessler label might necessarily mean -- "a real maker or a workshop?" -- so that I might be able to determine something about the violin's age, not to somehow be "sneaky."  If anyone knows anything definite about a Paul Kessler label, I'd love to hear it.  

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4 hours ago, hungrycanine said:

Yes, that's the violin in question. I've already asked the seller is he knew anything about the Kessler label that was relevant to determining the violin's age, but he did not. Nor did he have any other thoughts about its age. It does look quite decent for the asking price, doesn't it, in comparison to many "new" instruments available online. My post was really only seeking any further understanding of what a Paul Kessler label might necessarily mean -- "a real maker or a workshop?" -- so that I might be able to determine something about the violin's age, not to somehow be "sneaky."  If anyone knows anything definite about a Paul Kessler label, I'd love to hear it.  

I know that it is definitely a "trade" label, and already said so.  FWIW, a "fine", one-off,  benchmade violin is "fine art" and technically doesn't require "country of origin" markings to pass Customs.  It will have other documentation, but nobody has to stamp "Made In Italy" on a Strad, or "Made In Germany" on an original Klotz or whatever.  If a modern "fine" maker puts an origin on their label, it's from civic pride, not Customs regs.  This violin, however good, is a mass-produced trade violin, and the "Made in Germany" was required on the label.  Same goes for a Roth, even.  :)

Sorry about my short "sneaky" rant.  It wasn't specifically aimed at you. 

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5 hours ago, Blank face said:

The label looks like a modern laser printed or photocopied bogus, the violin more like a Mirecourt instrument. Agree with mass produced trade.

That fiddle is almost a dead ringer, to my untrained eye, for the 'Carel' fiddle I have in my hand, though mine is worse condition, having seen me through school decades ago. Carel was apparently a marque of Laberte-Hubert, Mirecourt, towards the top of their price range (http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com/laberte_humbert_1905_2.htm#spinalien) . I assume it is a factory fiddle of no commercial value (?). Nevertheless in the time I and my father owned it, it has always struck me as very decent student instrument, and in my mind it would be a great bargain at $275 auction price, and good value ready set up, from a shop, at five times that price.

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2 hours ago, John_London said:

That fiddle is almost a dead ringer, to my untrained eye, for the 'Carel' fiddle I have in my hand, though mine is worse condition, having seen me through school decades ago. Carel was apparently a marque of Laberte-Hubert, Mirecourt, towards the top of their price range (http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com/laberte_humbert_1905_2.htm#spinalien) . I assume it is a factory fiddle of no commercial value (?). Nevertheless in the time I and my father owned it, it has always struck me as very decent student instrument, and in my mind it would be a great bargain at $275 auction price, and good value ready set up, from a shop, at five times that price.

Mass produced trade isn't the same as factory without commercial value.  In fact, even the Roths mentioned by VdA like some other brands could be described as such.

Mirecourt factories and workshops produced so many different qualities like the Markneukirchen industry; unfortunately the OP photos don't give much evidence to tell something in particular about quality of workmanship, varnish etc. to decide if it's of a higher grade.

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Thanks for all these helpful replies. The original ad that VDA ferreted out is from a local site in Victoria, BC, where folks hope to sell unwanted dog kennels, out-grown hockey skates, and occasional musical instruments to local buyers. It is not at all an EBay sort of place, where sellers are expecting or willing to prepare items for shipping. The seller seems to be a very straightforward and honest fellow, and a pretty good fiddler, but not much interested in the pedigrees of instruments. The price seems very good for a decently built fiddle that, as John_London says, is setup and ready to go -- in fact, the seller says he's been playing it for 20 years and someone gave it to him when it first came into his possession. I guess what I need to decide is whether I need yet ANOTHER trade fiddle! It doesn't seem likely though, from the discussion here, that the instrument pre-dates 1931, but it does seem likely that it has been around for a while and has been well cared for. Thanks again for the help.   :)

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4 hours ago, hungrycanine said:

Thanks for all these helpful replies. The original ad that VDA ferreted out is from a local site in Victoria, BC, where folks hope to sell unwanted dog kennels, out-grown hockey skates, and occasional musical instruments to local buyers. It is not at all an EBay sort of place, where sellers are expecting or willing to prepare items for shipping. The seller seems to be a very straightforward and honest fellow, and a pretty good fiddler, but not much interested in the pedigrees of instruments. The price seems very good for a decently built fiddle that, as John_London says, is setup and ready to go -- in fact, the seller says he's been playing it for 20 years and someone gave it to him when it first came into his possession. I guess what I need to decide is whether I need yet ANOTHER trade fiddle! It doesn't seem likely though, from the discussion here, that the instrument pre-dates 1931, but it does seem likely that it has been around for a while and has been well cared for. Thanks again for the help.   :)

For $270 you can't do much wrong if it sounds OK. The priceis just do low. Just don't expect too muchin authenticity.

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21 hours ago, John_London said:

That fiddle is almost a dead ringer, to my untrained eye, for the 'Carel' fiddle I have in my hand, though mine is worse condition, having seen me through school decades ago. Carel was apparently a marque of Laberte-Hubert, Mirecourt, towards the top of their price range (http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com/laberte_humbert_1905_2.htm#spinalien)

The Carel label was towards the top of Laberte's student range. Beyond that they sold "violons pour orchestre" and then Laberte Humbert labelled "artist" violins.

I agree with the general consensus that this is Mirecourt but it's a bit of a budget affair - very plain wood and a hurried scroll. OTOH the condition seems excellent and it appears to be ready to play.

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On ‎31‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 11:30 AM, martin swan said:

The Carel label was towards the top of Laberte's student range. Beyond that they sold "violons pour orchestre" and then Laberte Humbert labelled "artist" violins.

I agree with the general consensus that this is Mirecourt but it's a bit of a budget affair - very plain wood and a hurried scroll. OTOH the condition seems excellent and it appears to be ready to play.

Agree with the Mirecourt attribution. The excellent condition is most likely partly attributable to the very tough varnish.

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11 hours ago, antero said:

This label is fake. But has anyone heard of Adolf Kessler?

Yup, but do you mean the artist,

image.png.767470e5e7755f7db2619a3de18f6536.png

or the 1886 mail-order luthier?  https://finelystrung.com/tag/adolf-kessler/

Oh, and there seem to be more, some of whom also made violins.  It's an unfortunately common name.

:)

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Oh, the very same! (mail-order man), thanks!

I have a rather goodlooking and nicely made violin labeled: Adolf Kessler Junior, Markneukirchen.

I knew that he had a patent on some novelty chin- or shoulder rest, but had never made any instruments. This museum info is rather enlightening.

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6 hours ago, Violadamore said:

 

or the 1886 mail-order luthier?  https://finelystrung.com/tag/adolf-kessler/

Oh, and there seem to be more, some of whom also made violins.  It's an unfortunately common name.

:)

Nice guitar. 

 

"The ribs and back are of plain wood, perhaps maple, with a painted faux grain pattern under the varnish."

Looks like Ash. Why would they think the luthier went to all the trouble of faking a grain pattern on maple to look like ash?

 

 

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Plain wood is just plain wood. Graining is, or at least used to be widely used to make plain (cheap) wood look better (expensive). Cheaper Mirecourt instruments often had faux flame on ribs and back, sometimes very well done - just saw a JTL cello.

But not all Kessler's suppliers obviously did that - this violin with his label has natural flame on back.

IMG_1086.JPG

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