DR. S

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Been playing this instrument on loan for over a year.  It has been looked at by one reputable luthier, but inconclusive (he did not have this good a view of the label though).  The instrument is definitely very old, has not always been cared for very well, but is still of the highest quality in sound and playing qualities (directly comparable to some known high quality examples of the Cremona school around 1700).  I have more picture, but want to start the focus on just the label first.  A makers label (real or faked) and a repair label.  I have an opinion, but want to hear what you think.

BillsViolin8.JPG

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Nicolaus Amati? Cremone?

Filius ac Antonij nepos?

Anno 1669?

Hmmm...Uznach is in Switzerland...

Repaired by Schill from (Luzern) Switzerland?

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The (fake) Amati label looks to me to have been grazed by insects, and could be an "original fake".  The repair label, while the ink and pen nib characteristics look authentic for the mid 1800's, I feel is a little too good to be true, but could just be well preserved.  :)

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let me state that no matter what it turns out to be, it is a world class playing instrument.  Could be used by a major soloist - that good.  But curiosity has the best of us.  Here is are a few more photos.  To be honest, from the few Nicolo Amati instrument photos I have seen, it does not look like the same maker to me, but then I have very few data points.  We do believe the age is mid to late 1600s, definitely italian, very possibly Cremona - so says the appraiser we had look at it.

BillsViolin2.JPG

Bill'sViolin3.JPG

BillsViolin4.JPG

BillsViolin7.JPG

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15 hours ago, Rue said:

Nicolaus Amati? Cremone?

Filius ac Antonij nepos?

Anno 1669?

Hmmm...Uznach is in Switzerland...

Repaired by Schill from (Luzern) Switzerland?

This is pretty much what we came up with too, except no way to get the middle two numbers for the date.  From construction and other factors the appraiser was very certain the date was 16?9.  Comparing to the Nicola Amati labels I have been able to find (every one was different by the way).  I found no labels where his name was spelled Amatii, but always Amatus, however, other Amati's used Amatii in the latinized form.  It is my understanding that Nicolo Amati violins are exceedingly rare, so, while I am keeping my mind open, I realize the odds are against it.   But looking at the condition of the instrument, it has obviously been in the possesion of people who did not understand what they had.  I must say though that this instrument considerably better and more sonorous than any Amati that I have played, which if it is an Amati, points to Nicolo or Hieronyous II, his son.  The appraisers advice was to actually take it to Cremona for appraisal.

 

 

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Its not in that bad of shape, just that the repairman probably didn't like cleaning cracks. I suppose those cracks could be redone.

I think the label is not worth even thinking about.

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3 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Looks like 19thC. Mirecourt (hope it doesn't suddenly sound crap!)

Didn't sound like crap when I first got it and assumed it was a German copy.   For me that would be good news, because it means there is a possibility I could actually afford to buy it.

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5 minutes ago, DR. S said:

Didn't sound like crap when I first got it and assumed it was a German copy.   For me that would be good news, because it means there is a possibility I could actually afford to buy it.

Oh good, we all live happily ever after then!

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Who took the top off ?

Do you have  pictures of the inside ?

If it was an Amati it would likely have a tiny cone shape hole in the center of the inside back plate. But by the sound of what Jacob has said,there seems little hope of it being there. :)

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Delabo,

I'm sure there are photos of the inside, but I do not have them, but can get them.  I believe when my friend got it the top was already off.  He repaired it and put it back together, he does very nice work.  

The appraiser who looked at it (will remain unnamed because they did not charge us due to the inability to identify a maker or value), but it was someone you would be familiar with, had it for 3 weeks and was very impressed with the instrument.   Obviously they looked it over very thoroughly.  What he did say about it was that he was quite sure it was 17th century Italian and very possibly, Cremona School.

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7 minutes ago, DR. S said:

What he did say about it was that he was quite sure it was 17th century Italian and very possibly, Cremona School.

IMO, Jacob is right about 19th century French. Why does he think Cremona? Hard to imagine.

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One of the things I have noticed is the very unusual and distinctive cut of the upper part of the f-hole.  The inner edge is rounded and parallels the outer edge rather than having a blocked shape.  I have been looking at many photos and have yet to come across anything like it.  I am hoping someone out there might recognize this style of cut.  Not seeing it on Mirecourt instruments - yet anyway.

 

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Some people might say ^_^, if you're suspecting a 1600ish date, the first thing to do is a dendro.

For my part I'm in a line with Jacob. The scroll, if original, has nothing to do with Cremonese curving, but a lot with more straight and broad chamfered french scrolls, especially at the narrow throat, and the varnish looks much too opaque. But I'm neither expert nor appraiser.

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I have no skin in this game, just looking for opinions.  Though it would be cool to find out it is old Italian, I knew going in it was unlikely. However, I have to also respect the opinion of the appraiser who had it in his hands for 3 weeks.   But I understand your points too. 

Dendro?  Some kind of wood analysis? 

 

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There are a lot of grafts and repairs, it is possible the scroll is not original, but on the other hand the scroll has several repairs to it - peg hole grafts etc, so it does look like an attempt was made to preserve it.  It has had the neck graft.  I do not have a good eye for scrolls, but I know that to the trained eye it tells a lot about the instrument. 

I am puzzled by the pretty strong opinion of Mirecort mid-18th century, which I am sure is well founded due to the 'ayes', compared to the 17th century Italian by the appraiser who had it in hand for 3 weeks.  

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22 minutes ago, DR. S said:

Dendro?  Some kind of wood analysis? 

Don't spend the money. There is very good reason to be skeptical of guys looking at internet photos (especially me). But I just cant imagine anything close to 17th century Cremona here.

My advice would be take it to other experts.

 

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

mid 19th C.

Sorry, typo on my part.  Yes, I know the difference between 18th century and 1800s.   Just like I know the 21st century did not actually start until the year 2001 (not 2000).  But let's not let this thread digress please.

 

 

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Would be interested to know the back length.

I agree that it could be Mirecourt c1830-1850, though the upper tongues of the f-holes look pretty wierd and have maybe been made to look more interesting than they were.

Are the linings spruce/softwood as they appear to be? that would pretty much rule out anything exciting.

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