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DavidB

unusual Pfretzschner cello bow

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I recently came across this unusual-looking cello bow stamped H R Pfretzschner and stamped with the Saxonian crest.  The frog has an unusual "striped" aspect, and the slide has alternating bands of white (bone? ivory?) within the same wood as the rest of the frog.  The tip plate is mostly gone.  The pictures aren't great, I know, but what do you all think about this strange frog?  Any idea if this could be a genuine Pfretzschner?  

I tried it out and found that it plays nicely - knowing of course that the balance will change once the tip plate is replaced - but the stick is somewhat soft in the middle.  Is this a flaw that can be corrected by recambering?  The stick is nice and straight, with no warping, cracks or flaws that I could detect with a magnifying glass.  It's offered for sale at an antiques shop by someone who clearly knows nothing about bows or instruments, but knew enough to google "Pfretzschner" and slap a 2,500 euro price tag on it.  I've bargained him down to 800 euros.  What do you all think?   Thanks for your replies!  

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Edited by DavidB

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The frog is just ebony that is not completely black.  It looks nickle mounted and it needs a new tip plate.  Not at all sure about the slide.  It may be a replacement or an attempt to personalize the bow.  I hope Josh Henry comes by, he and others are real bow experts and can tell you something about the authenticity.  I would say if it is real the price you came to is about the most I would pay for it.

DLB

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7 hours ago, vathek said:

I would imagine a tip face replacement would have a negligible effect on balance.

I don't think he's talking about balance so much as protection for the tip...

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Yes,

Really better to get the tip plate replaced.  The new synthetic tip plates are very good and do not have the ivory problem.  Going without one risks splitting out the head mortice.

 

DLB

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At best this is a very low grade nickel mounted shop bow from the time when Pfretzschner was in the GDR, but to me it looks a bit suspect.

I’ve never seen that sort of slide on a Pfretzschner, nor such poor ebony.

it may be legitimate but still not worth E800 IMHO unless it’s a real standout stick.

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At least I would agree with Martin, that this is a low grade GDR made shop bow. Never have seen a slide like this before at a Pfretzschner, but brand, crest, wood of the stick and shape of head and frog look ok IMO. Maybe from a 1960 or 1970s period, when they were running a cheap mass production line for export purpose. Pfretzschner bows aren't consistent in quality like Nürnberger, there is many cheapish trade stuff out there.

The value isn't comparable with bows of a better grade or other periods, especially not in this condition.

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In 2010 there was a large exhibition of the Pfretzschner families bows at the AGM of the German vm. Assn. in Markneukirchen, which included a talk by Rene Pfretzschner (the current one). One can get a good historical context, including the early years, and the Pfretzschner's split into two lines during the DDR (GDR) period. The catalogue is still available:

 

http://www.holfter.com/Shop/main_bigware_3.php?search_in_description=1&keywords=Pfretzschner&bigwareCsid=d8b16d28803a3fc29c0b45a6cc3f27c0&x=11&y=14

 

The book has many very good pictures, organised into a chronological order, and is invaluable when trying to date/authenticate one.

 

Re. the OP bow: I have seen these Zebra slides on medium/cheap Markneukirchen bows from the late 19thC. - early 20th C., and have several bows with Zebra slides in my “not worth repairing/junk” box. I am not aware of any more recent “Zebras” though, and am not aware of DDR Zebras at all, such that I would prefer to keep my council on this one

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This Zebra slide frog I would assume to be post war, though not sure if from Markneukirchen; it has white stripes and heel plate made of a newish looking white plastic, and was, as I remember, as a replacement with some different bow. It has a brass upper slide, so I'm not sure, if it's even chinese.

I think we agree, whereever the OP bow might originate from, that with this cheapish frog, the stick weak in the middle, broken headplate etc. the price appears to be not reasonable.

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Thanks to all for these very interesting and informative replies.  I decided not to buy the bow.  If the stick hadn't been soft in the middle I might have tried to bargain the price down a bit, but all told, too many problems with this bow.  Shame, because I used to have a truly lovely Pfretzschner (early 20th century, silver mounted, fantastic legato sound, quite heavy) but it was stolen a few years ago and I still haven't gotten over it. 

Very interesting to see the link to the Pfretzschner expo catalogue, and also very interesting to see a photo of another "zebra slide" - I had no idea such a thing even existed!

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