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1905 Violin Bow Ad

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I recently ran into a posting of this ad from 1905 and found it interesting.  I thought the pricing was rather interesting.  Looks like the Bausch bow was the most expensive.  Enjoy. 

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1 minute ago, duane88 said:

yep, the powerful Sartory had not yet taken the market by storm. The lighter, flexible bow of the 19th c was still in vogue.

The Bausch bow is interesting....I wonder if that was an actual Bausch workshop bow?

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The most interesting thing for me is that they actually call out "German silver", which is not actually silver (Ag), but a white alloy of nickel, zinc, and copper.  

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For what its worth, just checked an inflation calculator $11.00 in 1913 is about $280.00 today. A good hand made bow today is 10-20X that.

 

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1 hour ago, TunaDay said:

The most interesting thing for me is that they actually call out "German silver", which is not actually silver (Ag), but a white alloy of nickel, zinc, and copper.  

German silver will also vary in content percentage and is sometimes hard to distinguish from sterling.  I would guess that a many 19th Century bows that claim to be silver mounted would never pass the 925/950 standard.   

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7 hours ago, TunaDay said:

The most interesting thing for me is that they actually call out "German silver", which is not actually silver (Ag), but a white alloy of nickel, zinc, and copper.  

“German Silver” is just the American pseudonym for what is known here as “Neusilber” in England we just say “Nickel” . There are other synonyms: Alpaka/Alpacca, Argentan, Minargent, Cuivre blanc, Maillechort, etc. It was known from the 18th C. in imported Chinese metalwork as “Packfong”

 

In the year 1823 the “Vereins zur Föderung des Gewerbefleißes” tendered a prize to find a way to industrially manufacture the material. The aim was to create a Silver-ersatz (surrogate) that would only cost about 1/6 of the then current silver price. The first to achieve this alloy was Dr. Ernst August Gleitner in Auerhammer bei Aue in Sachsen. His recipe was 20% Nickel, 55% Copper and 25% Zinc. The Henniger Brothers in Berlin discovered their recipe about the same time. Also “Neu-Silber was made in Berndorf in Austria. The main use was cutlery, but also trophy's, dishes etc. There was also a so called “Hotel-Silver” which was basically the “Neu-Silber” which was silver plated. In old violin catalogues, “Neu-Silber” or (US) “German Sliver” bows of the same model were 30%-40% cheaper or more than the same in real silver. Nowadays there are also some misguided people who think Nickel (i.e. Neu-Silber) mounted bows are as expensive as real silver ones. This is nonsense.

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1 minute ago, jacobsaunders said:

Nowadays there are also some misguided people who think Nickel (i.e. Neu-Silber) mounted bows are as expensive as real silver ones. This is nonsense.

Are you sure ?

In the current Tarisio auction there is an unstamped nickel mounted violin bow by Dominique Peccatte which has a current bid of $23,000 !

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If it was silver it would be closer to $46k ...

There are some collectors who are interested in pristine early nickel bows - there was a period around 1830 where it came into vogue and was used on really good sticks, until time showed that it didn't wear nicely. And there's an argument that one of these bows in mint condition is quite special. But that's the exception and very much not the rule - very quickly nickel became relegated to use on lesser sticks.

 

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One should be aware that this is a (quite interesting) trade catalogue of bows at the lowest prices, not mastermade or the like. The "Bausch Leipzig" brand, for instance, was at this period just a trade mark of the Paulus shop for bought in cottage industry stuff. So this bows and prices are rather comparable with modern bows maybe from the Chinese production than any good bow maker's work.

OTOH, the advantage of german silver/nickel mountings (containing not a single percent silver) is that you can get sometimes a good bow for a significant lower price than an equivalent with real silver mountings.B)

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Neat old catalog page.  I find these very interesting as they give direct evidence of the bow market, prices, etc., way back when.   Besides those reproduced in the Ehrhardt books there are others to be found in various places on the internet.  Sometimes the period prices of "generic" silver mounted bows can approach those for makers whose bows command 5 figures today.  

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Here's another old page (from 1915).  Prices go from 55 cents to $29 (the later would get you into the range of some well known French makers).  One of the issues with these old catalogs is figuring out if the prices are retail, wholesale or something like "keystone" (usually twice wholesale but not always).

 

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

OTOH, the advantage of german silver/nickel mountings (containing not a single percent silver) is that you can get sometimes a good bow for a significant lower price than an equivalent with real silver mountings

I have just counted 13 nickel mounted bows (cello -violin-viola) in the current Tarisio catalogue.

I am not sure if its a new trend or something that I have never noticed before ?

Anyways, the collect-ability and price of good quality nickel mounted  bows appears to be going up.

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13 hours ago, deans said:

For what its worth, just checked an inflation calculator $11.00 in 1913 is about $280.00 today. A good hand made bow today is 10-20X that.

 

The average salary in 1905 was $300 per year. That is probably a better mark up indicator than inflation. Is nickel somehow less effective as a material than silver for say a ferrule or a button? Other than appearance. I have a lot of old pre 1965 quarters which were 90% silver would they be worth rolling out and used in a bow?

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2 hours ago, Delabo said:

I have just counted 13 nickel mounted bows (cello -violin-viola) in the current Tarisio catalogue.

I am not sure if its a new trend or something that I have never noticed before ?

Anyways, the collect-ability and price of good quality nickel mounted  bows appears to be going up.

I counted 15 and one that has been remounted in silver, which for some strange reason ups the price despite being non original and silver not costing very much at all for a bow. Also a few with non original frogs buttons which may have also been nickel mounted.

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1 hour ago, MeyerFittings said:

The average salary in 1905 was $300 per year. That is probably a better mark up indicator than inflation. Is nickel somehow less effective as a material than silver for say a ferrule or a button? Other than appearance. I have a lot of old pre 1965 quarters which were 90% silver would they be worth rolling out and used in a bow?

I find the following link to be a more interesting currency converter:

http://www.historicalstatistics.org/Currencyconverter.html

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There's an old argue if nickel mounted bows shouldn't be valued similar to silver mounted, if they are equal otherwise (especially brought up by owners or sellers of nickel mounted). But pragmatically seen they were always valued and sold higher if silver mounted, and that's why many nickel bows were remounted in silver. Otherwise this would be useless.

8 hours ago, martin swan said:

there was a period around 1830 where it came into vogue and was used on really good sticks, until time showed that it didn't wear nicely. And there's an argument that one of these bows in mint condition is quite special.

I heard this very often, too, but never have seen a real prove for this claim, maybe a catalogue or invoice. Do you know of some?

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17 hours ago, duane88 said:

yep, the powerful Sartory had not yet taken the market by storm. The lighter, flexible bow of the 19th c was still in vogue.

I'd beg to differ...I've got some "heavy duty" bows going back to Lagrosse ca.1800 via Vuillaume shop ca. 1840 and Peccatte ca.1850 that make Sartory's look like limp noodles! Not to mention my early Knopfs that can double as war hatchets! Bowmakers were making different bows for different players all along, so I think it would be a mistake to ascribe certain characteristics to certain periods with too much certainty.

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13 minutes ago, Blank face said:

There's an old argue if nickel mounted bows shouldn't be valued similar to silver mounted, if they are equal otherwise (especially brought up by owners or sellers of nickel mounted). But pragmatically seen they were always valued and sold higher if silver mounted, and that's why many nickel bows were remounted in silver. Otherwise this would be useless.

I heard this very often, too, but never have seen a real prove for this claim, maybe a catalogue or invoice. Do you know of some?

Actually, it was more expensive than silver for a while in the early 19th century, and Lupot was one maker that used it as an "improvement" on silver for a while. You can find examples in the Raffin/Millant book.

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23 minutes ago, Michael Appleman said:

Actually, it was more expensive than silver for a while in the early 19th century, and Lupot was one maker that used it as an "improvement" on silver for a while. You can find examples in the Raffin/Millant book.

There seems to have been a (very short) period when tin or nickel was short and the prices for this ressources were rising, but actually the new alloy was meant as a cheaper and more durable replacement for silver, like Jacob's quote shows. As I'm understanding it, this was the improvement. The question is, were nickel mounted bows really sold for the same price (or even higher), or were they just regarded as more modern and fashionable, like Chanot or Savarts inventions. I really don't know, give Raffin/Millant any clue in this direction, about documented sale prices comparing nickel and silver mounts?

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Just now, Blank face said:

 I really don't know, give Raffin/Millant any clue in this direction, about documented sale prices?

I'm afraid my "L'Archet" books are in a box at the moment, as we're having some rooms repainted in our apartment, but from what I remember, Raffin seemed to suggest the nickel mounted Lupots were not meant to be lower priced bows, but at least equal if not more expensive. 

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Yes, that's what actually is told everywhere as "oral history", but without hard prove I'd guess it's more a legend. Obviously all sources tell you that it was meant as being 1/6 of the silver price. So why should it be "as expensive as silver, if not more"?

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