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PhilipKT

Nürnberger bow? Doesn’t look right

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Now that my favorite violin shop has closed for good, I’m not buying any more bows, but I still love kicking tires.

This is on Invaluable. Doesn’t look right to me. The stamp has no serif, and it may or may not have an umlaut( hard to tell) but I’ve never see a Nürnberger with this color. They’ve all been dark brown or almost black. This color seems wrong and the wood does too.

Frog and button look well made so it might be legit but it just looks wrong.

Any insight from the Teachers?

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Nürnbergers come in many shapes and forms, and there are several brands, though to be honest I'm not familiar with this one with the umlaut within the U. It looks like it could be something more recent from the workshop, maybe even made in the GDR during the time when the firm was incorporated/nationalised ...

The colour of the wood and the "varnish" are both quite possible. I think most people only think of Karl Albert but the Nürnberger production spans around a century.

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@martin swan

would the stamp say Albert even if one of the others made the bow? Albert died in 1931, and next were Peter and Paul(?) I’m not sure I’m remembering correctly. Was Albert stamped on all of them? Or was the Albert stamp used on shop bows after Albert’s death while the other names only went on individually made bows?

@jacobsaunders yes that book is on my list but I’m going to buy the Babbit first. My German is quite rusty.

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23 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

@martin swan

would the stamp say Albert even if one of the others made the bow? Albert died in 1931, and next were Peter and Paul(?) I’m not sure I’m remembering correctly. Was Albert stamped on all of them? Or was the Albert stamp used on shop bows after Albert’s death while the other names only went on individually made bows?

@jacobsaunders yes that book is on my list but I’m going to buy the Babbit first. My German is quite rusty.

The book I linked to doesn’t only have the history of the Nürnberger dynasty, co-authored by the current Nürnberger, but illustrated (roughly consecutively) the various epochs of Nürnberger, explains the various stamps (serifs, umlauts), the various models, and would save you from asking elementary questions here

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54 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

The book I linked to doesn’t only have the history of the Nürnberger dynasty, co-authored by the current Nürnberger, but illustrated (roughly consecutively) the various epochs of Nürnberger, explains the various stamps (serifs, umlauts), the various models, and would save you from asking elementary questions here

I would actually prefer the Nürnberger Dynasty book if that’s available. Even if it’s only in German, I can get through it with a Langenscheidt’s.

Edited by PhilipKT
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5 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I would actually prefer the Nürnberger Dynasty book if that’s available. Even if it’s only in German, I can get through it with a Langenscheidt’s.

The book on the Nuernberger bows is really good. They go at length to show and explain the subtle differences between the stamps over time. The stamp on the OP bow doesn't seem to be in the book, though.

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1 hour ago, Guido said:

The book on the Nuernberger bows is really good. They go at length to show and explain the subtle differences between the stamps over time. The stamp on the OP bow doesn't seem to be in the book, though.

Are you you referring to the one that Jacob recommended?

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Well, the bow sold for $800, so someone thought that it was real. If it was, that might be one of those winning lottery tickets people speak of, and if not, well, it might be worth 800 bucks…

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9 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Well, the bow sold for $800, so someone thought that it was real. If it was, that might be one of those winning lottery tickets people speak of, and if not, well, it might be worth 800 bucks…

We may never know since we don't know many things about this particular bow...   But that raises an interesting question that comes to my mind - assuming the bow is a real Nürnberger, how does one determine the value of such bow and how much it actually is worth? Is there a go to source for people to track how much is too much ($800 in this case?) or just right or they're getting a good deal because this bow really is worth thousands of dollars..? I did a quick search on ebay and was delighted to discover there are several bows by this maker and they were listed anywhere from $1000 to $10,000 which makes it difficult to understand where the true value really ought to be. Jacob above mentioned a pricey book with pretty pictures and lots of German text - does that book shed the light on modern day prices and helps determine the value of these bows?

Again, let's just assume for the argument's sake that we're not considering fakes for this discussion - only genuine Nürnberger violin bows.

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There is such a massive range of bows that could be described as Nürnbergers, it's hard to know where to start.

There are two separate families, and there are bows from the 1850s to the 1970s.

There are nickel bows, silver and ebony bows, ivory bows, gold and tortoiseshell bows, picture bows, presentation bows ...

Condition - there are bows in mint condition, bows in good condition, bows suitable only for kindling.

Then you have to consider that there are all sorts of parallel markets. Auction prices won't tell you if a bow is damaged or fake, Ebay and Facebook even more random and unverifiable. Retail prices vary from country to country.

There is no 'go to' source that covers all these bases.

Retail pricing is established through discussion between peers and colleagues. Unfortunately not many dealers advertise their prices, and it's just not a standardised market since each item and each seller is individual.

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Saying “Nürnberger” is like saying “Chevrolet.” Even if we assume that it is real, there are too many other variables as Martin said.

If I knew it was real, and it is in undamaged condition as this one appears to be, $800 is possibly a good price. But I wouldn’t risk that without playing it. 

The first bow I ever bought at auction was a Tubbs at Skinners in 1996. It was completely genuine, complete and undamaged. But Tubbs’ quality varied highly, and this particular bow was one of the spongy ones. It did sell eventually but ever since then I’ve been aware that just because something is genuine doesn’t mean it’s good.

The only thing I can say about this particular bow is that I would not risk $800 on it without seeing it in person and getting a sense of its playing quality.

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