ejblu

Restoring a Marc Laberte c. 1950

Recommended Posts

Hi - first time poster here.

I recently got what I thought was a good deal on a Marc Laberte from about 1950. It has a top crack, but for what I paid, I thought it might be worth the gamble. Since then I've had second thoughts. It's really hard to get an idea on the value of instruments from this workshop, since they operated for many decades under multiple different labels. I've googled extensively and looked through the price history here. I can't find any sales that precisely match this violin's label, year, etc.

The label reads:
"Ateliers de Lutherie d'Art Marc Laberte Mirecourt_Vosges_France".

It has a certificate from an appraiser in Paris attesting that it's from c. 1950, by one of the workshop's master luthiers ("un maître luthier"), and that it's a good example of the Laberte Atelier's work. 

Any idea of the range of value that such an instrument could have? I'm looking for an upper bound, not a precise number, as I'm just trying to decide how much money to put into it, or whether it would be good money after bad.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can be very usable instruments and a top crack is not necessarily an expensive repair although it depends where the crack is and whether it has been monkeyed with.

Post some pictures as described above and you may get more information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1950 is very late for a Laberte instrument - I would have thought that even the best quality would be worth less than something like a Dieudonné from the period. And cracks are more significant in newer instruments (in terms of devaluation).

The label is also not the label that went in one of their top models.

Do you have photos? it would be easier to give you an idea of value ... but I would be surprised if it was more than £2000 or so at retail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the photos.

I should mention that restoring this violin would be an alternative to buying a new workshop violin; I'm not expecting it to compete with $10K+ instruments, or even $5K+. I'm hoping to end up with something equivalent to a Jay Haide or similar. In the US, retail price for a Haide is about $2400. If the repair on this Laberte could be done for $1000 or less, I'd still be coming out far ahead of that.

l91924_label.jpeg

l91924back.jpg

l91924bside.jpg

l91924head.jpg

l91924top.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How far does the crack go? If the soundpost area is bulged, misshapen/ involved, it changes the type of repair, still very doable, just a different repair. That may be why this one went up for sale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I agree with Blank Face that one should be wary of Marc Laberte labels, this does look like a bog-standard late Laberte violin.

The idea of certifying it as the work of one of the "maitres-luthiers" of the workshop seems a bit of a stretch - it's clean work but it's a pretty tradey violin with a production-line look about it. Who wrote the certificate?

I'm afraid this crack is pretty serious, and the violin would need a post patch in the table and some decent retouch if you were going to sell it for any sort of price. Once that work was done it might sell for around £2000, but I don't suppose anyone would do a really good job for less than £500 so I fear it might not stack up for you financially.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I'm afraid this crack is pretty serious, and the violin would need a post patch in the table and some decent retouch if you were going to sell it for any sort of price. Once that work was done it might sell for around £2000, but I don't suppose anyone would do a really good job for less than £500 so I fear it might not stack up for you financially.

Remove the belly
Clean crack
Glue crack
Make plaster cast of belly
Fit sound-post patch
Fit cleats to crack
Retouch varnish
Rub out retouch and blend in
Reglue belly
Retouch under edge of belly
New sound-post
New Bridge
New strings

A really good job for 500? Seems like the U.K. is the place to get things fixed up for peanuts. Can you name some U.K. repairers who ship?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not an expert, but when I yoom into the picture the crack ends some 4-5 cm below bridge so I think the soundpost patch would be not necessary. Also it looks quite clean saddle crack and with very little to no varnish missing so assume good simple crack gluing with few cleats would put this violin back into good shape and may be even hard to notice if done properly. I would have someone really good do it or you may easily end up with SP crack if some monkey tries to remove the belly... (suggesting using temporary stud at the end of the crack inserted through f-hole before even trying to remove the top).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

Remove the belly
Clean crack
Glue crack
Make plaster cast of belly
Fit sound-post patch
Fit cleats to crack
Retouch varnish
Rub out retouch and blend in
Reglue belly
Retouch under edge of belly
New sound-post
New Bridge
New strings

A really good job for 500? Seems like the U.K. is the place to get things fixed up for peanuts. Can you name some U.K. repairers who ship?

I said I didn't think anyone would do a good job for less than £500 - of course a lot of restorers would charge more but you wouldn't get them to repair a Laberte.

I was talking specifically about repairing the crack - not cutting a new bridge and post and replacing strings.

If you're serious I can think of half a dozen people who would fit the bill, but shipping would probably make it uneconomic.

1 hour ago, HoGo said:

I'm not an expert, but when I yoom into the picture the crack ends some 4-5 cm below bridge so I think the soundpost patch would be not necessary. Also it looks quite clean saddle crack and with very little to no varnish missing so assume good simple crack gluing with few cleats would put this violin back into good shape and may be even hard to notice if done properly. I would have someone really good do it or you may easily end up with SP crack if some monkey tries to remove the belly... (suggesting using temporary stud at the end of the crack inserted through f-hole before even trying to remove the top).

I'm hearing more and more from good restorers who don't like to patch a fresh crack to the post on the table - at least on a relatively new violin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, ejblu said:

Here are the photos.

I should mention that restoring this violin would be an alternative to buying a new workshop violin; I'm not expecting it to compete with $10K+ instruments, or even $5K+. I'm hoping to end up with something equivalent to a Jay Haide or similar. In the US, retail price for a Haide is about $2400. If the repair on this Laberte could be done for $1000 or less, I'd still be coming out far ahead of that.

 

FWIW, the repair would be less than a new Jay Haide, I'd prefer end up with the Laberte.  I'm thinking it would be less though as (previously stated) I wouldn't be surprised if that crack doesn't really line up, or come up to the SP area.  Might be a much cheaper job.  Best case though(no sp patch), probably a little over $1K, at least in my shop, including a good set up and the usual other work involved in getting it just right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attempting to distill takeaways from this discussion:

Although there is some disagreement as to the potential seriousness of the crack, it's at least possible that it could be repaired (and the violin set up) for a little over $1K.

It also sounds like its value is roughly equivalent to a Jay Haide (and others of that ilk) - 2000 pounds is almost exactly US $2400, which is what Haides go for here. I paid a few hundred for the instrument in its current condition, so putting in $1000-1200 will still put me ahead compared to buying a new workshop violin like a Haide, at least in terms of price (thank you, @Jeff White for speaking to that comparison).

@martin swan what gives it a tradey appearance? I do not have a trained eye for these things, so I don't know what to look for. You seem to have a low opinion of Laberte violins; how have you found them to be lacking compared to other workshop instruments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, ejblu said:

 

@martin swan what gives it a tradey appearance? I do not have a trained eye for these things, so I don't know what to look for. You seem to have a low opinion of Laberte violins; how have you found them to be lacking compared to other workshop instruments?

No i'm quite a fan of Laberte instruments, but their heyday was around 1920, and somehow these post-war examples seem to lack individuality. 

Your analysis of the economics seems to me a bit flawed, since if you bought this for say £500 and spent £1000 doing it up, in a couple of months you would have a violin worth a bit less than £1500. The value post-repair will not be the same as the value of an unrepaired instrument.

So from my point of view it would be putting good money after bad, which I think was your primary concern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@martin swan - now I'm really confused. You say my analysis is flawed; I'm merely quoting you above: "Once thatwork was done it might sell for around £2000." Now that has gone down to "a bit less than £1500." What changed?

Edited by ejblu
Typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, ejblu said:

 I paid a few hundred for the instrument in its current condition, so putting in $1000-1200 will still put me ahead compared to buying a new workshop violin like a Haide, at least in terms of price

But will it sound or play any better than a Jay Haide? You won't know until it is repaired and set up what the full potential is.
Damage is always a factor in any post repair valuation, as Martin has pointed out. A repair isn't a magic wand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on what your definition of being upside down on this violin is. If you get a competent repair for 1200 dollars and it sounds good, folks might critique the value right now. In a hundred years it won't matter if it was a new or old instrument. I don't get many pristine old instruments in my shop. I do get a lot of battered old boxes, with tons of repairs that still sound good...and are cherished by their owners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies; I'm still on the fence, which leads me to one more question: if I decide to hold off on restoring this violin, what is the best way to store it such that it doesn't get any worse? Should I keep the strings and bridge on? At full tension? Reduced tension? Should I take them off?

@martin swan in answer to your earlier question, the certificate was done by someone named Roger Lanne in Paris. A Google search revealed him to have been associated with a shop called Viaduct Violins. I know nothing else about him or about that shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/20/2020 at 2:06 PM, ejblu said:

 

@martin swan in answer to your earlier question, the certificate was done by someone named Roger Lanne in Paris. A Google search revealed him to have been associated with a shop called Viaduct Violins. I know nothing else about him or about that shop.

Viaduct Violins is a very well respected dealership in Paris and Roger Lanne was one of its founders and quite an authority on French instruments.

Im sure he knows a lot more about the late Laberte workshop than I do. However, the existence of this certificate doesn't add to the value of the violin, and the market is far less tolerant of these sorts of repairs in modern instruments than in antiques.

Since you already own the violin, I would try to find someone to repair it whose charges are commensurate with the quality of instrument. The fittings all seem good, the bridge is fine - there are plenty of good independent restorers who would fix the crack for less than $1000.

On 5/18/2020 at 2:57 AM, ejblu said:

@martin swan - now I'm really confused. You say my analysis is flawed; I'm merely quoting you above: "Once thatwork was done it might sell for around £2000." Now that has gone down to "a bit less than £1500." What changed?

£2000 was before I saw the photos :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.