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BassClef

Are violins the most faked objects ever? Seems super crooked.

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The problem that comes up again and again is that violins (generally Chinese) are sold throughout the world with fake labels from contemporary makers. 

When these appear in shops with online inventories it's easy enough to tackle the seller, though it can be remarkably difficult to get them to accept that they are selling something that isn't genuine.

On Ebay there is or was a healthy market in such things, and it seems that prospective buyers are stupid/greedy enough to think that they might get the better of the seller - I believe in a lot of cases they don't contact the maker because they don't want to alert anyone else to the incredible killing they believe they are about to make.

It's also worth remembering that not everyone speaks the same language as the alleged maker of the instrument, nor do some people wish it to be known that they even look at Ebay or whatever other sales platform ...

But I'm surprised that Danube Fiddler even bothers to debate such questions, since 2 seconds' playing would surely be enough to establish the authenticity of any label.

 

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2 hours ago, Danube Fiddler said:

unless the "Burgess" is offered for 2k - then a call isn´t necessary.  THIS TYPE of "forgery" I don´t count.

A reality where 2 k (Euro? Dollar?) for a fake or 15k for "good sound" don't count is surely not the world 99% of the people are living in.

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9 minutes ago, martin swan said:

But I'm surprised that Danube Fiddler even bothers to debate such questions, since 2 seconds' playing would surely be enough to establish the authenticity of any label.

You still can´t accept the importance of sound for pricing ?! You still believe, that the probability of fine sound in your G.B.G., offered some time ago, is not higher than in any 2k - violin ?! 

I never claimed a positive authentification by sound-tests, the opposite can make a limited collateral sense in high-valuated instruments. However my earlier statements (you just try to remember ) were not about authentification but about the relation of sound-quality and prices in general ( historical evaluation ) and in the single case ( need of approximate fit to the historical evaluated sound/price-range ).

Yes, when a Guadagnini sounds poor, I would assume this

- the dealer surely has tried to find one of the best possible set-up and adjustments

- if the instrument has some serious lacks of condition, he couldn´t or didn´t want to shut down - the dealer will tell it

- when the dealer can´t tell and show such things - that means we have no special reasons for the poor sound - then I also would think about a forgery - but it would not play a great role, because anyways it makes no sense to buy such a violin.

As we know, you think different : In your opinion G.B.Guadagninis don´t sound better than any much cheaper violins ( even 2k-violins, because there is no correlation between sound and price ( in your words : sound is not paid ).        

We both know, that the thing is more complicated - but you seem to be not prepared to admit any complexity.

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On 12/16/2018 at 7:22 AM, Navyasw02 said:

? Why not use biometrics to label and identify violins?

It certainly could be done, I have thought about, and even mentioned starting with everything valuable and having a certification board to assess and report, and with the report comes substantial credibility to the object of value, eventually the large majority could possibly end up in the data base. But development, acquisition and administration won't evolve out of thin air, and every rock and stone that might uncover something disturbing in this muddy river might not be so fine. An international data set of wooden boxes with strings, accessible to gold card members only, what a concept!

Fraud involving modern violins could be dealt with,,,,,,, individual luthers could place the necessary information publicly,,,but even with all the info available,,, it doesn't guarantee everyone will bother to look for it.

You could bury chips, and electronic detection devices, GPS,, but you never know,,

Some one could end up stealing it and taking it up to the mountain to play it where there is no satellite signal and I would never be able to find it anyway.

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11 hours ago, Evan Smith said:

You could bury chips, and electronic detection devices, GPS,, but you never know,,

There are outfits offering to clone ID chips, so ID chips may not be the answer.

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The truth is that there are many things that pass through the antiques trade where forgery is a danger, and in turn there are many forms of expertise out there which enable experts with sufficient understanding to be able to differentiate genuine from reproduction and from fake. The difference with violins is that because they have labels, we presume fixate on that far too much. 

In furniture, it would be enough to recognise a piece as 17th century London work, or a Greek vase to come from the Etruscan era and a particular area. It is infinitely rarer to put things down to a name - Euphroneous, or Chipendale, because that is way beyond the criteria of ordinary value. 

The result means it is an absolute red herring to think about the label. Just as a Chippendale chair with biscuit joints is preposterous, or a leonardo da Vinci painted on canvas, so is a Stradivari without the right blocks inside. That is the demonstrable knowledge that experts understand, based on a body of understanding for what is genuine. At the risk of being cruel and elitist, if you are not prepared to put the homework in to discover who to trust, or to develop a trustworthy opinion, you won’t really be in a position to understand the finer points of authenticity. 

When we focus on the domain of expertise, we can be much better reassured about the market. Caveat Emptor 

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4 minutes ago, Ben Hebbert said:

The truth is that there are many things that pass through the antiques trade where forgery is a danger, and in turn there are many forms of expertise out there which enable experts with sufficient understanding to be able to differentiate genuine from reproduction and from fake. The difference with violins is that because they have labels, we presume fixate on that far too much. 

In furniture, it would be enough to recognise a piece as 17th century London work, or a Greek vase to come from the Etruscan era and a particular area. It is infinitely rarer to put things down to a name - Euphroneous, or Chipendale, because that is way beyond the criteria of ordinary value. 

The result means it is an absolute red herring to think about the label. Just as a Chippendale chair with biscuit joints is preposterous, or a leonardo da Vinci painted on canvas, so is a Stradivari without the right blocks inside. That is the demonstrable knowledge that experts understand, based on a body of understanding for what is genuine. At the risk of being cruel and elitist, if you are not prepared to put the homework in to discover who to trust, or to develop a trustworthy opinion, you won’t really be in a position to understand the finer points of authenticity. 

When we focus on the domain of expertise, we can be much better reassured about the market. Caveat Emptor 

And, in closing, that's why they pay Ben the big bucks!!! :}

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On 12/30/2018 at 3:37 AM, Evan Smith said:

It certainly could be done, I have thought about, and even mentioned starting with everything valuable and having a certification board to assess and report, and with the report comes substantial credibility to the object of value, eventually the large majority could possibly end up in the data base. But development, acquisition and administration won't evolve out of thin air, and every rock and stone that might uncover something disturbing in this muddy river might not be so fine. An international data set of wooden boxes with strings, accessible to gold card members only, what a concept!

Fraud involving modern violins could be dealt with,,,,,,, individual luthers could place the necessary information publicly,,,but even with all the info available,,, it doesn't guarantee everyone will bother to look for it.

You could bury chips, and electronic detection devices, GPS,, but you never know,,

Some one could end up stealing it and taking it up to the mountain to play it where there is no satellite signal and I would never be able to find it anyway.

I was thinking something even simpler - just swab your cheek and wipe some on a marked spot on the violin.  300 years later they can track down your ancestors and verify the legitimacy of your violin. 

 

Probably Amazon will be able to clone you a new body and you can download all your memories from Facebook by then anyway so your reincarnation can just personally vouch for its authenticity.

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22 minutes ago, Navyasw02 said:

I was thinking something even simpler - just swab your cheek and wipe some on a marked spot on the violin.  300 years later they can track down your ancestors and verify the legitimacy of your violin. 

It might be more useful to track down descendents. 

But why couldn’t a forger swab the marked spot on one violin and transfer the DNA to another?

Andrew

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