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Maggini model/copy?


Kristen Stadelmaier

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Hello everyone,

This is a photoset of my violin, an antique from 1880s Germany (or possibly the German-speaking part of what is now the Czech Republic).

As you can see, it is rather large all around, with beautiful flamed-maple back and ribs and a gorgeous red varnish. It's extremely heavy, and I've gotten so used to it that some of my professional friends' violins feel like toys in my hand. Even my viola is significantly lighter. It's not incredibly obvious from photos, but the scroll leans back quite a bit further than a normal violin. The pegs are custom viola pegs because violin pegs ware far too small to fit in the peg box. It has a very warm and extremely dark tone, and loves warm strings like the Warchal Brilliant Vintage and Amber sets. It has great projection for being such a dark-sounding instrument, too.

I was recently made aware of a maker named Maggini. The person who told me about these instruments said that mine fits several of the characteristics of a Maggini, whether it be a true Maggini, or a copy. The things it is missing, which may or may not make or break it, are the double purfling and the triple scroll. It is fully carved, and the purfling was inlaid by hand.

Would anyone be able to verify if this is indeed a Maggini model/copy, and what it could potentially be worth? It is an heirloom that we got restored (all new hardware, including  fingerboard and custom pegs/tailpiece) and there are no labels, stamps, or writing in it, so we know next to nothing about it besides 1880s Germany. To me, it's priceless because of the sentimental value, but I'm also interested in the potential monetary value as well.

The luthier I took it to said it's a run-of-the-mill Strad copy, but it doesn't quite seem to fit the shape. I did the best I could with the tape measure, but I kept the higher end where it was when I measured with two hands.

Thanks kindly,

Kristen Stadelmaier

 

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I already gave my feedback on the other site, but commenting will bump it to the top of the list.  The lighting in the photos makes things a little difficult, but I can see why someone thought it was more of a Stradivari copy than a Maggini copy, in spite of the large size.  The corners don't seem to overhang the ribs much/at all, and that's an indicator of a Vogtland origin because they clamped the ribs together and then rasped them off.  Anyway, we will await the experts.

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I wouldn't call it a Maggini copy either.

Interestingly, it seems to have retained the original neck. Chances are it is a through-neck, which would be in line with the Vogtland origin.

Another Vogtland indicator is the scroll fluting stopping early (at about 7 o'clock in this case).

In terms of monetary value (for a late 19th century Vogtland trade violin), I would fear that you may have paid more for the restoration than the instrument could be sold for now.

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It's a family heirloom, but we paid $450 to restore it. It was in terrible shape, but our guy did amazing work for the price he charged. I'm sure it would have been upwards of $700 if we went to the more well-known luthier in the area. All the hardware is new, including the custom viola pegs.

If it isn't Maggini, even though it fits a lot of the criteria besides the double purfling or triple scroll, what maker could it be? I've never seen a violin that is so heavy or thick, and never have I heard of a violin needing thick viola pegs (the maker was seriously questioning me because it sounds so absurd, but honest to God, the peg holes are huge). I'm more curious for my own edification, not for resell value. I'd never sell this. 

However, if it's really not worth much, and it sounds as good as it does (I sometimes say I'm spoiled by it because any other instrument sounds too harsh and bright under my ears, but this one is very sweet sounding and warm), then I really lucked out! I've never heard of a cheap instrument sounding great.

 

Edited by Kristen Stadelmaier
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I took a look at the three "Maggini-model" violins in my home, and compared that with pictures of real Maggini violins - and couldn't really see much similarity except perhaps in the inconsistencies in the number of scroll turns. All the maggini-types have double purfling, but so does my German "Caspar da Salo". Two of them are on the large side, one is on the small side.

On the other hand, they all have deep rich sound - so that's one good thing about them.

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On 10/16/2018 at 8:37 PM, Kristen Stadelmaier said:

It's a family heirloom, but we paid $450 to restore it. It was in terrible shape, but our guy did amazing work for the price he charged. I'm sure it would have been upwards of $700 if we went to the more well-known luthier in the area. All the hardware is new, including the custom viola pegs.

If it isn't Maggini, even though it fits a lot of the criteria besides the double purfling or triple scroll, what maker could it be? I've never seen a violin that is so heavy or thick, and never have I heard of a violin needing thick viola pegs (the maker was seriously questioning me because it sounds so absurd, but honest to God, the peg holes are huge). I'm more curious for my own edification, not for resell value. I'd never sell this. 

However, if it's really not worth much, and it sounds as good as it does (I sometimes say I'm spoiled by it because any other instrument sounds too harsh and bright under my ears, but this one is very sweet sounding and warm), then I really lucked out! I've never heard of a cheap instrument sounding great.

 

Kristen,

While know next to nothing, I have learnt from MN experts, including Jacob, Martin, and BF, and many others. I would think that yours is a typical Schonbach/Saxon violin.

Unless you would like to sell it, the resell value does not mean much as long as you like its tone.

I have a Schweitzer 1813 violin, looks handsome (e.g., one piece tiger maple back) and sounds beautiful. Believe or not, some of my friends, who do not play with no knowledge of violin, believe it is my best one. However, everyone with some knowledge would know the limited monetary value of a Schweitzer regardless the sound and condition.

Where, I have that Schweitzer for 30 years, it is the very first violin I bought for myself, and my two sons played it when they were beginners. We have quite a few instruments and my sons are much more advanced and play on "better" instruments now. However, every time their grandma came visiting us, she always said what they had played long time ago sounded the best. This is sentimental!

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  • 4 months later...
14 hours ago, Brian Madigan said:

Kristin -

 

You say it's a family heirloom - how long has it been in your family? 

Hi Brian, it's been in my family for three generations. My grandpa supposedly found it at a flea market or a thrift shop, or that's how the story goes. Both of my grandparents have died, so the real story is lost forever, unfortunately, but he always used to brag that it was a Strad (which is obviously not true haha) It's been dated at c. 1880.

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That's interesting! I don't thing there's any relation. My grandpa was Eduard (Edward at Ellis island) Stadelmaier, and he came over in the 1920s from Stuttgart. One of my cousins did a whole family tree and there was never an Adam. However, it IS rumored that my grandpa's great-great or great-great-great grandmother was a common woman who had an affair with a member of the royal family, but that she never gave up the name, to protect him. If that's true, I could technically be German royalty ;-)

I don't think I've got any instrument makers in my family though. Just some alleged royal scandals and an abnormal violin!

Edited by Kristen Stadelmaier
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