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Violin ID


bridgeshome
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I am not an expert, and I don't even play one on TV, but I want to try to apply the Jacob Saunders® method to this lovely violin and see how close I get.  And then the actual experts can come on and dismantle me, and we'll find out what this violin actually is.

OK, so I don't think this is "the usual."

Scroll fluting goes to the "bitter end."  Corners appear not to be pinched together.  One-piece bottom rib.  I don't think this is BOB.  I confess that the elegant shape of the f-holes (which is not really an official thing, but...) looked Mittenwald-y...

So, Mittenwald, c. 1780-1800?

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35 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Once again the pictures provide no proof of the fluting going to the bitter end, will people please learn to take pictures from the right angle, below the volute and to the side of the pegbox

Any closer? Thanks. I appreciate the learning experience you all provide.14C00B03-C5C3-497C-A92A-A198DD6153F4.thumb.jpeg.55fc0644a4854ce5128802a6d6c9429e.jpeg

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If you take the scroll pics and throw them into an editor and blast the brightness it looks awfully like 'to the bitter end to me' and the bottom rib, which is in one piece unless there is an invisible mend (B)) surely excludes Saxon?  

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The bottom rib is one piece, but there's a notch in the bottom plate. Rib joints look pinched together, not mitred, and are flush with the plate corners. It also looks as if it has lost a lot of varnish.

It's difficult to tell by the photos, but the scroll appears to be not so old as the body to me. Reminds me a lot of something like a Ficker from the early 19th century.

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Hi @bridgeshome,

Can you measure the length of back? (https://www.wikihow.com/Measure-the-Body-Size-of-a-Violin,-Fiddle,-Viola,-Cello-or-Upright-Bass)

If you shine a light in the f-holes, can you see if there are cleats (small pieces of wood) glued on top of the back seam?

Is there a label or other writing inside?

That is the oddest scroll graft I have ever seen.

Thanks.

 

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6 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Hi @bridgeshome,

Can you measure the length of back? (https://www.wikihow.com/Measure-the-Body-Size-of-a-Violin,-Fiddle,-Viola,-Cello-or-Upright-Bass)

If you shine a light in the f-holes, can you see if there are cleats (small pieces of wood) glued on top of the back seam?

Is there a label or other writing inside?

That is the oddest scroll graft I have ever seen.

Thanks.

Hello, @GeorgeH,

Thank you for the measuring guidelines. As a newbie, I need all the direction I can get (and now that I’m about to give the back-length measurement in inches, I have steeled myself for someone responding with ‘Inches?! INCHES?! You dolt! It should be related to  he width of a man's thumb until the 14th century when King Edward II ruled that 1 inch equaled the length of 3 grains of barley lined up, end to end!) 

With that caveat - the back length is 13 15/16”

Looked around inside, per your pointer, and there are no cleats on the back seam.

The only label is located in the neighborhood of the sound post, it’s about an eighth-inch (not sure what that is in barley) wide with the numbers 7401. Appears to be a shop inventory sticker or the like.

Thanks again for your help!

 

 

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That graft is strange.  It appears to be the second graft, and with that odd notch, and the little pieces added at the top, I can understand that it probably isn't the original scroll, as Blank Face thought.  There's definitely a story there.  The notch appears to me not to be a break--the surfaces look clean--so I would think that b.home could get a luthier to fit in a little maple piece there, maybe? 

On 2/27/2021 at 11:11 PM, Blank face said:

...the scroll appears to be not so old as the body to me. Reminds me a lot of something like a Ficker from the early 19th century.

So, from this, I wasn't sure if it was the scroll or the body that was like a Ficker/early 19th-c.  I am of course barely knowledgeable in this, but I wonder if I could see a couple of the other corners photographed well-lit and closeup from the side (rather than add them to the series above, maybe a new post with them?), right at the joint of the ribs, because I don't see a line in the middle of the one b.home shows us.  And when you look inside to see the cleats that GeorgeH wants to see, I wonder what the corner blocks and linings look like, or if there are blocks or faux blocks or what.

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4 hours ago, palousian said:

I wasn't sure if it was the scroll or the body that was like a Ficker/early 19th-c.

To be clear, it looks to me a bit similar to a Ficker. This means certain aspects like arching ff and their position, edgework and purfling and the like. But by no means that it is one. Just the style seems to be a Vogtlandish in my eyes.

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This might well be apropos of nothing, however ...

@jacobsaundersmentioned French and first half of 19th Century and it was the proverbial pebble/landslide from there. After reading that post, I recalled my father saying he had received the violin from his aunt for Christmas when he was about 10 or 11. The connection to France was also dusted off and now rattling around in my brain, but I wasn’t sure about that aspect.

At any rate, to pin down his birthdate and do the math on the 10 or 11 thing, I consulted his massive, old Masonic Bible that ended up with me after he died in 2012, as I knew his name and birthdate were inscribed in the cover plate. I also noticed an odd gap between the pages and, after turning to that spot, found this bill of sale for the violin. 
Had I known it was there, I would have shared it from the onset, but this violin mystery seems to want to spool itself out in its own time.

I also found paperwork stating that the German violin teacher who sold it in 1937 as ‘an old French violin’ from ‘about 1812’ had previously insured it under the same description for $500 in 1931. 
 

 

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14 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sorry but this violin was never worth anywhere near close to $500 in 1931, you could by a Strad for that price.

I thought the same thing, @Strad O Various Jr. and even the $10 annual premium (which included the $30 Nurnberger bow), was a pile of money back then. Looks like Aunt Minnie helped line the pockets of the insurance boys (the name of the insurance company is pretty interesting, at that ....). Either that, or they were staging a very complex, potentially profitable insurance scam that never played out. ;)
@GeorgeH

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15 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sorry but this violin was never worth anywhere near close to $500 in 1931, you could by a Strad for that price.

A quick look through pre-1920 Lyon and Healy Catalogs showed prices for Stradivari violins ranged from $6,000 to $15,000.

In 1931, a $500 insurance replacement value for a good early 19th century French violin would be perfectly reasonable.

@bridgeshome

Nobody was taking advantage of Aunt Minnie, and she was smart to insure that violin. 

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On 2/28/2021 at 12:41 PM, bridgeshome said:

The only label is located in the neighborhood of the sound post, it’s about an eighth-inch (not sure what that is in barley) wide with the numbers 7401. Appears to be a shop inventory sticker or the like.

It looks like there is more writing or a label inside the violin. Can you get a picture of this area?

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2 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

It looks like there is more writing or a label inside the violin. Can you get a picture of this area?

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Here's that area. Closer inspection shows it to be scratches on the back - messy attempt at setting soundpost?

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