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I can't read!


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Got this at an auction for cheap based on the back picture. I expected it to have fake flames but now that I've got it in hand they are definitely real. Amazing looking wood and overall workmanship. I initially thought German but now I'm second guessing myself because it don't seem to totally match up. Maybe a better quality Markie that someone's redone the top on (see scratches)?

Edit: forgot a pic of the rest of the table inside- nonintegrated BB- if you want a pic for whatever reason just holler!

That toothpick soundpost though!

Anyways it's got two inscriptions in pencil: 

William Clifford         february 1890          Thomas Williams 

I can't make out the inscription on the table. Any tricks or does someone think they can make it out?


As an aside. What do the number of gut strings on a violin mean? Could it be used to estimate age? Some have all 4, some 3 some wrapped. I've always wondered


















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I am not an expert but, according to the rules of Jacob Saunders' 'Cornerblockology,' it was made with with an Inside mould, so it's not a Markie (they built on the back with no cornerblocks). The Inside mould method was typically used in Vienna/Prague/Mittenwald/South Tyrol (others may be able narrow down or suggest otherwise)

I think that the '1860' date looks genuine to the age of the instrument but I can't read the rest, either.  The whole thing appears to have been revarnished  which is possibly why the flame looks so dark.

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It definitely isn’t a “Markie” (© VdA), but something from South Germany. The inscription on the belly will be the maker, somewhere not far from Mittenwald. To read it, a better focused photo will be necessary. You can also experiment, under which sort, or which direction of light it is best readable. The back inscription will surely be a repair inscription, so I wouldn’t be too interested in that. It seems to have been stripped and re-varnished

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Hope you didn't pay much over ten bucks.

By the way, I'm looking for someone to donate a 1/4 size violin to use as a toilet paper hanger for my shop bathroom. If it's larger than 1/4 size, the roll won't fit over the scroll. Numerous studies and experiments involved, well beyond what I can ever recover financially.

Violin toilet paper dispenser: Copyright, David Burgess, 2020.

Welcome to our world.

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Hah, apparently I'm right and can't read. It does definitely says mittenwald!

Just the first line left to decipher I guess

almost looks like _bola_b/l      last name almost seems to read Bly or Blij


I've attached some more photos. Tried playing around with light and background and different cameras but seemingly to no avail. Hope someone can make something out or up.


36 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

much over ten

if you got violins at $10 similar to this I'll take you up on it and set up an auction in my parts. Auctions around here have been pushing 150+usd for cheap garden variety (© jacobsaunders??:D) only good for the woodstove. This one slipped by in a real estate auction apparently while everyone else was bidding up dustbin stuff from a recently passed local maker that I already got first dips on. (I'll be sharing pictures later when I get around to setting those up as they're pretty interesting in terms of construction)








IMG_20210114_170856049 (1)-min.jpg


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Thanks for the better pictures. It is Seitz, with a T (otherwise as above). The family sometimes spelt the name Seiz and sometimes Seitz. The T seems to have been optional, since in German, one pronounces a Z as if it had a T in front of it anyway (think Pizza). Sei(t)z was a large family, many of whom worked for the “Verleger” (yours is an earlier Verleger violin) and not all makers are recorded. House No 80 would have been his address.

If you post a thread with the title “I can’t read” it’s your own fault if Burgess responds immediately, ‘cos he can’t either:)

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50 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

If you post a thread with the title “I can’t read” it’s your own fault if Burgess responds immediately, ‘cos he can’t either:)

But I look better than you do, in a  speedo or a jockstrap. Maybe even in a skimpy  night gown. ;)

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Thanks Jacob! That's pretty cool.

But I proved I couldn't unfortunately, :D hopefully I'll graduate to identifying the next one I"ve questions about a bit more accurately. (like seeing the obvious:lol:)

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On 1/14/2021 at 11:47 PM, Rue said:

Where do you see Seitz? 

The surname reads clearly Seitz in my eyes, too. Not sure about the first name, it starts like Seb.., but is ending with an L, so it could be a sort of nickname like Bastel or similar.

From the front scroll view the violin started life covered with the deeply crackled thick red varnish one can see often at violins from this period and origin, which is also often turning into a deep black giving the false impression of being "burned". At this poor instrument we can easily spot the outcome of the often heard advice to strip and revarnish these violins. Must have been rather nice before it was wrecked irreversible.:mellow:

Screenshot_2021-01-16 I can't read (1).png

Screenshot_2021-01-16 I can't read .png

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