Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Any tips on seeing if a label is fake...


Recommended Posts

I have a great violin that’s labeled as an Alfredo Contino.  When I had it looked at at my local luthier shop, they mentioned it being a very nice violin but were not sure of the authenticity so I’ll be taking it to Atlanta soon to get it checked out while I’m there on business.  Any input in appreciated!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ways to tell if a label is fake...


A facsimile of a label given in a popular reference book, with the same date.
Very white paper.
Very white paper which has been stained heavily and rather messily.
Very brown paper, much darker than the back.
Wrong type of media, parchment, laid paper, cheap inkjet printer paper.
Label of wrong size.
Label placement wrong (could be moved during restoration).
Script of the wrong type.
Printed by a different method to what is expected (inkjet printer vs wood block).
Hand written when should be printed, or vice versa.
Mistakes in the spelling(s) commonly used by a maker.
Dates before maker was alive, or after death.
Label strangely torn to shape, (because no one could cut a straight line in the old days).
Label looking like it has been sanded, to make the wording very hard to read.
Lots of unusual things spilled onto the label, making it hard to read.
Dates written in blue biro or felt tip pen.


How am I doing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, martin swan said:

If it’s not a Contino then the label is fake :rolleyes:

Yes, you could try looking at the violin.

I think however there are cases where a reproduction label has been inserted in a genuine instrument, when the original label was lost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Facinating, it  would seem that there are fairies after all. Next I want to know where one can order some pixie-dust


Here you go Jacob!  Plus it comes with three tiny magic-storing bottles... for your tears of joy.  You must save those!  They mix well in varnish concoctions. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It appears to be a Bohemian.

A Del Gesu copy made by Bohemian maker Konrad Krc I bought in Prague a few years ago shares some similar characteristics as the OP. I attached a few pictures for the experts at MN to comment.

As expected for a high quality copy, all four corners are blocked, with the linings went into the blockers. The scroll fluting also went almost to the very end of the throat (9:00 but not completely 10:00 o'clock).















Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, zhiyi_zhang617 said:

It appears to be a Bohemian.

A Del Gesu copy made by Bohemian maker Konrad Krc I bought in Prague a few years ago shares some similar characteristics as the OP.


Krc instruments are rather good, but they, like many of the region and period are Markneukirchen Trade “Schachteln” that someone has personally finished. This is why you will see by comparison with the pseudo “Contino”, that your Krc is an infinitely more refined and desirable violin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not only the felt pen written year and number what's making me doubt that it's a genuine Krc.

A reference example and a short bio is at Jan Spidlen's website here


The instrument pictured very detailled there, though about 20 years later, is of a highly refined and much different style than the violin presented above, which looks IMO rather like a nicely and well made but somehow "tradey" Czech. As Spidlen wrotes, the maker started his apprenticeship in 1923, but should have made 107 violins till 1931, and only 269 in 1953? That seems unlikely, too. Sorry to say, but actually every better Schönbach instrument is ascribed to reknown makers by certain dealers from there.

The poster could send photos to Spidlen asking if he's got a real Krc or something different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry for joining this discussion so late. 

I would simply say that in general discussions about the authenticity of a label go the wrong way. We think from the beginning it is original and look for clues why it is maybe not. We.would save a lot of time if we would in general use the reverse approach. 

'This label must be a fake unless someone can find the proof that it is original' would be the better way to work with. 

Anyway, nowadays 99 percent of label fakes come from the copy machine. Examining the ink on the paper is the best method. I think there was a solvant for printer ink which does neither dissolve pen ink not printers ink.

Sometimes the contours of the letters can give some clues as well. Original print is most of the times sharper than the reproduction of it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the simplest rule to determine the authenticity of a label is that "if you can see it, it's a fake". unless you have watched the maker put it in, or have a signed statement from someone who saw the maker put it is, and it is countersigned by the maker - and authenticated by an expert.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...