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NoLuckSchmuck

Help Identifying Violin

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Hello all!

This violin popped up at an auction house, and I was curious what your opinions of it were.

I am a complete novice in the violin trade, but to me, the wood quality, craftsmanship and varnish all appear to be of decent quality, I could be completely wrong about this though.

Anyways, I would like your help in identifying it's country of origin (to me it looks like a toss-up between France and Germany) as well as it's general quality (is it student grade, factory-made, or hand-crafted).

I am also curious what an intelligent price limit would  be when bidding on this instrument (I am really hoping for advice on this, even if you think my limit should be $50)

I apologize in advance if any of these questions seem ignorant. I am still learning a lot about violins and hope to learn even more from you all!

Thanks for your time!

Here are the photos which the auction house provides of the instrument:

i59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer.thumb.jpg.80d5f3dc0ce0c6d95765e81d6b7f190a.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57.thumb.jpg.b354d0e4a097b6743c7c5211e6f91620.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-1.thumb.jpg.cc269eb96320787098adcee5a370226d.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-3.thumb.jpg.f696a86105e0a07f5aebaa38f915dfb9.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-4.thumb.jpg.e7cc27864eddd35e9e200b69ee961bca.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-5.thumb.jpg.773b703bb972a8ec4c2278c97948ebbe.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-6.thumb.jpg.114653d65d6a6aee6e5cf31278a0cd11.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-7.thumb.jpg.3d35a8c11951d1995356e8ef37c721ec.jpgi59u12-Alte-Geige-mit-Koffer-_57-2.thumb.jpg.f50f6285071bf9fb9d2e8c7055b6e85f.jpg

Edited by NoLuckSchmuck
Title needed revision

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 Looks like a decent serviceable instrument. If there are no unseen flaws (it wouldn't take much to kill it) it would probably retail in the low 4 figures.

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To me this violin immediately says Mirecourt, though it does have a scroll which isn't carved to the "bitter end" (to quote our beloved leader of the house), and the purfling sits rather oddly in the corners for Mirecourt.

The most one can say from these photos is a good trade instrument from the early 1900s, apparently in excellent shape.

The back length would perhaps be its undoing - check it's not oversize, a 7/8 or a 3/4.

 

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

To me this violin immediately says Mirecourt, though it does have a scroll which isn't carved to the "bitter end" 

 

 

I would be curious what you mean there Martin. From my point of view, it not having scroll fluting „to the bitter end“ merely excludes it’s having been made in Mittenwald. Looks like a French trade fiddle to me as well

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17 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I would be curious what you mean there Martin. From my point of view, it not having scroll fluting „to the bitter end“ merely excludes it’s having been made in Mittenwald. Looks like a French trade fiddle to me as well

 

We are in complete agreement ... I thought perhaps the OP imagined that the scroll fluting spoke against it being French.

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On 9/6/2019 at 12:24 PM, martin swan said:

To me this violin immediately says Mirecourt, though it does have a scroll which isn't carved to the "bitter end" (to quote our beloved leader of the house), and the purfling sits rather oddly in the corners for Mirecourt.

 

On 9/6/2019 at 2:01 PM, jacobsaunders said:

Looks like a French trade fiddle to me as well

 

It looks perfectly like a French trade fiddle (right down to the "Gand" strip in the middle of the belly),......with no sign of pegbox wear, what looks to be drawn purfling on magnification, a hard, chippy red varnish which could be cashew, and new looking wood exposed in the chipped areas.  Guys, the Chinese have been making fiddles that look exactly like this for at least 10 years, and all of us have an old battered case lying around somewhere, right?  I'd want to examine it in person before I decided whether it's good old French, or a good copy of French.  Big difference in price there, though which one might sound better would be a coin-toss.  :)

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The purfling is clearly inlaid. When you are saying China, I'm saying rather a Bubenreuth made thing from the 60ies ca., especially when I'm seeing the title of the photos "Alte Geige mit Koffer..."B) Or something like "Wehener Hopf", for example.

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18 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

 

It looks perfectly like a French trade fiddle (right down to the "Gand" strip in the middle of the belly),......with no sign of pegbox wear, what looks to be drawn purfling on magnification, a hard, chippy red varnish which could be cashew, and new looking wood exposed in the chipped areas.  Guys, the Chinese have been making fiddles that look exactly like this for at least 10 years, and all of us have an old battered case lying around somewhere, right?  I'd want to examine it in person before I decided whether it's good old French, or a good copy of French.  Big difference in price there, though which one might sound better would be a coin-toss.  :)

There is no "Gand" strip in the middle and the purfling is inlaid.

All newly exposed wood looks new ...

Mirecourt or Bubenreuth - not entirely sure, which is why I would describe it as a good trade instrument. The one thing it isn't is a "good old French", since at best it's a Laberte.

I'e never seen a Chinese instrument remotely like this but if you have something on file I am ready to be persuaded ...

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I'm not giving the link, just saying In Ulm und um Ulm herum....(and once more ten times and as fast as possible:P). Confirms my assumption.

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To be honest the failure to take the scroll fluting up past 6 o'clock is in this case the thing that makes me think it's Mirecourt c1920 rather than Bubenreuth and later ...

Seen plenty of Labertes with this kind of gloupy varnish, and the wear all looks completely genuine to me.

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Maybe you're seeing more Labertes and me more Bubenreuths usually.;) Similar reasons, but mostly the purfling with thick deeply black stripes gives me reason to think postwar West German, the varnish with the particular fine crackling and chipping off the same, and the fittings, too. At a Laberte I would expect rosewood pegs and a different tailpiece if original.

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37 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Maybe you're seeing more Labertes and me more Bubenreuths usually.;) Similar reasons, but mostly the purfling with thick deeply black stripes gives me reason to think postwar West German, the varnish with the particular fine crackling and chipping off the same, and the fittings, too. At a Laberte I would expect rosewood pegs and a different tailpiece if original.

agreed - but fittings get changed! Thie purfling is really the thing which gives me pause for thought, particularly how it sits in the corners. And Mirecourt instruments tend to have more of a platform for the fingerboard ....

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I agree with VdA - Chinese, though the purfling is real and I don't see a "Gand" strip. The quality and wear of the varnish and how it was applied says Chinese all the way to me.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

I agree with VdA - Chinese, though the purfling is real and I don't see a "Gand" strip. The quality and wear of the varnish and how it was applied says Chinese all the way to me.

On first looking at the photos, I saw what appear to be joins in the top, but might be mistaken.  On the purfling:

Detail001.thumb.png.c4bee88de759a48397f3f71997cc2dd1.png

Where it's exposed, it doesn't look inlaid to me.

Then there's the pristine seams shown in this picture:

image.png.26e092dae00d030789b61387e3c3c10e.png

Antique, supposedly well used trade fiddle with the top never popped and the neck never reset?  Makes me suspicious, particularly when added to the pristine pegbox.   A lot of what I do around here is neck resets, seam regluing, and peghole/pegbox doctoring.  Then theres's the lack of surface abrasion on the varnish.  From my POV, and for what it is supposed to be, the OP fiddle isn't just in excellent condition, it's in supernatural condition.  :lol:

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6 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Then theres's the lack of surface abrasion on the varnish.  From my POV, and for what it is supposed to be, the OP fiddle isn't just in excellent condition, it's in supernatural condition.

We're not living in a swampy surrounding and therefore such a condition is nothing unusual for a 100 years old violin. Looking more close at the photos can teach you that there's enough abrasion, especially at the belly, and a specific crackling to the varnish, also about the purfling.

There are other features making me assume that it's a postwar instrument, but nothing contemporary.

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

 such a condition is nothing unusual for a 100 years old violin. Looking more close at the photos can teach you that there's enough abrasion, especially at the belly, and a specific crackling to the varnish, also about the purfling.

 

Yes, we have sold plenty of early 20th century violins in this sort of condition and better. It's clearly not well used, but even if it was, many violins to get to be 100 years old without the tops coming off.

A Chinese violin would have scroll fluting to the bitter end surely?

Expand the photo of the purfling around the treble f-hole and you will see that it's inlaid.

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I wonder if, 100 years from now, all trade instruments will get a 5 second look and be blown off as "Chinese"

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3 hours ago, deans said:

I wonder if, 100 years from now, all trade instruments will get a 5 second look and be blown off as "Chinese"

100 years from now, all "trade instruments" will be Chinese, because Markies and their kin will be "200 year old handmade European (not to be confused with 'Europan') violins"  selling for as much as a new spacesuit, or a beefsteak.  :ph34r:

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On 9/7/2019 at 3:04 PM, martin swan said:

I'e never seen a Chinese instrument remotely like this but if you have something on file I am ready to be persuaded ...

 

14 hours ago, martin swan said:

A Chinese violin would have scroll fluting to the bitter end surely?

French or Chinese based on scroll and ffs? 

LOB is 355mm. Violin has a commercial French-looking label, but does not indicate location of manufacture. Back has cleats near the upper block and lower block, but none in the center. 

Throat is not carved to "bitter end," and is crudely executed. The purfling sits in the corners like the OPs. It looks Chinese to me, but so does the OP's.


 

ffs_corners.jpg

scroll_base_rear.jpg

scroll_profile.jpg

scroll_back.jpg

scroll_front.jpg

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Dear George,

Agree that this violin is Chinese, but I can't see that neither the purfling, the varnish nor the way the scroll is carved has anything to do with the OP violin.

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One thing that strikes me as slightly odd about the OP's violin is the lack of any old chin-rest scars. And it's so clean, apart from the chin-rest and fingerboard...

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57 minutes ago, matesic said:

One thing that strikes me as slightly odd about the OP's violin is the lack of any old chin-rest scars. And it's so clean, apart from the chin-rest and fingerboard...

I think it's probably the original chin rest and has never been moved. The instrument is probably much older than it looks because it hasn't been played much?

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On ‎9‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 5:24 PM, martin swan said:

To me this violin immediately says Mirecourt, though it does have a scroll which isn't carved to the "bitter end" (to quote our beloved leader of the house), and the purfling sits rather oddly in the corners for Mirecourt.

The most one can say from these photos is a good trade instrument from the early 1900s, apparently in excellent shape.

The back length would perhaps be its undoing - check it's not oversize, a 7/8 or a 3/4.

 

I would be happy with a 7/8 Laberte-Humbert if that's what it is, and it might be? But who wants a 3/4?

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5 hours ago, Blank face said:

but I can't see that neither the purfling, the varnish nor the way the scroll is carved has anything to do with the OP violin.

 

4 hours ago, martin swan said:

I wouldn't know that it was Chinese but it is very different to the OP violin in all details I can see.

Yes, agree, the OP's violin is a much higher quality violin, but this was offered as an example of a Chinese instrument where the scroll is not carved to the "bitter end."

Here is a much higher-quality Chinese violin from the workshop of French-Trained Chinese violin makers from the 1980's. I think the French influence is obvious, and not unusual for Chinese violins, which is why I'd be cautious about dismissing the possibility that the OPs violin is of Chinese origins.

02front_rear.jpg

03scroll_profile.jpg

04top_back.jpg

05scroll_portrait.jpg

06profile_whole.jpg

08corners_edges.jpg

09bottom_rib_arching.jpg

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