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Darnton Violin on March Tarisio FI Auction


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I think he is a contributor here on this forum.  Just a heads up if anyone is interested in watching it or bidding.

It also reminds me of a question I have had about other instruments in the WH Lee shop. This one was labeled clearly that is was his. Are (or were) all WH Lee shop instruments labeled that way so that you know which of the builders made it? If not, is there any way to know who made an instrument from that shop? 

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@jacklinks

I owned, and liked very much, a 1995 Kiernoziak which was labeled Kiernoziak. A student has a 1993 Kiernoziak. Another bought a 1996 Bednarski(which remains in perfect condition)

the “models” probably don’t give a hint of who made them but the higher-priced instruments are individually labeled.

 

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19 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

I hear Michael is a well respected maker, too bad these auctions don't usually do justice to the value of living maker's work

Yes Mr. Darnton is well respected.  I have heard 2 of his violins up close and really liked them.

But what makes you think that the auction isn't doing him justice?  The price?  Auction prices are not necessarily an indicator of true instrument value.  That's how auctions work: low bid start using an estimated range in hopes of making a few bucks.  Then retailer adds his/her magic and marks the price up.  

I don't think that Tarisio is doing Mr. Darnton an injustice.  I could be wrong though.

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On 3/3/2021 at 7:42 PM, jacklinks said:

It also reminds me of a question I have had about other instruments in the WH Lee shop. This one was labeled clearly that is was his. Are (or were) all WH Lee shop instruments labeled that way so that you know which of the builders made it? If not, is there any way to know who made an instrument from that shop? 

My 1994 WH Lee viola doesn't carry a maker's name but I was informed by the vendors (Guivier of London) that it was one Thomas Schmidt. Guivier presumably acquired the information and the instrument from WHL.

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Mr. Darnton could chime in of course. But last I knew he wasn't charging as much as some  makers, and there is one near me that seems reasonably priced. Given the size, the SPC, and the fact that its an auction (with a buyers premium to factor) the estimate seems pretty good to me. 

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4 hours ago, MANFIO said:

There are some fine 349 mm Del Gesù violins, no problem about that. 

Yes, but I'll bet the price is less than ones that are around 352-3. Same situation as long Strads, which sound fabulous. Instruments outside of the 350-360 range generally sell for less than other models, especially from more recent makers. 

Anyway, all it takes is two people in the world who want a slightly small violin and don't want to wait for the time it takes to make a new one.

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1 hour ago, deans said:

Anyway, all it takes is two people in the world who want a slightly small violin and don't want to wait for the time it takes to make a new one.

I used to make big 17-inch violas.... Toby Appel in NYC warned me that most of his students were "small Asian girls". I think the market for good sounding 349 mm violins is good.

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8 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

I used to make big 17-inch violas.... Toby Appel in NYC warned me that most of his students were "small Asian girls". I think the market for good sounding 349 mm violins is good.

I love how opinionated people get about sizes - I bought an incredible sounding early 19th Century English viola with a 390-mm back a while ago and was told by a professional that it was a “wall-hanger” because it was too short.

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7 minutes ago, Three13 said:

I love how opinionated people get about sizes - I bought an incredible sounding early 19th Century English viola with a 390-mm back a while ago and was told by a professional that it was a “wall-hanger” because it was too short.

Well, Toby Appel was right, I moved to smaller violas...

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32 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

I used to make big 17-inch violas.... Toby Appel in NYC warned me that most of his students were "small Asian girls". I think the market for good sounding 349 mm violins is good.

I love 17+ inch violas, but don't base the market on what I buy.  And yes, this would be a great violin for smaller individuals. Iif it were a long Strad model, I would be all over it, the instruments from Mr. Darnton that I've seen are nice, and I'm not afraid of a well repaired SPC.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/12/2021 at 11:33 AM, avandesande said:

There are very few (less than one hand?) contemporary makers that can spark a bidding war.

And let's keep it that way.

I have seen instruments that were purchased at auctions at dealers and that, of course, is expected. There can be large discrepancies between purchased and sold prices. This is where one's research and time are valuable. It appears, sometimes, that the difference in price is no greater than the percentage made from the consignment of a similarly priced instrument after all the fees are paid. Certainly a wealthy shop with larger amounts of "foot" traffic can benefit from boosting their inventory with respected makers.

Recently, I suggested to a private seller a shop on the opposite coast. The local shops offered miserly amounts ( perhaps due to the current effects of the shutdown? ) for a recognized Italian maker from the 1930s and noticed that exact instrument priced a quite a bit over retail posted on a dealer site. When evaluated, it was in excellent condition but with old broken unplayable strings. Aside from the possible preferred or collectible quality which I was not aware of, was surprised that the instrument was priced so high. Some shops must be doing well. Would be a bit strange to see it back here on the westcoast.

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On 3/13/2021 at 10:15 AM, Three13 said:

I love how opinionated people get about sizes - I bought an incredible sounding early 19th Century English viola with a 390-mm back a while ago and was told by a professional that it was a “wall-hanger” because it was too short.

Yes, there are opinions... Many are questionable. Often over-simplifications, but despite this, those with casual opinions can be correct on occasion.

Too large a viola is less manageable, if not impossible to play, for those with smaller hands and shorter arms. Cellos that are too big can be played as one might an upright bass. However, if the low- C# can't be reached on a viola, that excludes a bunch of pieces. I remember a little kid in an orchestra playing the low- G# on his violin a la Keith Richards' Barre chords, by wrapping his thumb around the neck from the left side.

The more difficult aspect of either longer or heavier violas is that we grow into and out of these instruments. More recently, I have been asked to locate professional quality 7/8 and 3/4 size violins for shorter retired professional players in their 80s. It appears that it is not so much about arm reach but the ease of access to notes across the strings. I am not quite up there in age, but the older players desire to play more difficult pieces and just those few millimeters make a difference.

Mr Appel is a very respected viola professor in NYC. 

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5 minutes ago, GoPractice said:

Yes, there are opinions... Many are questionable.

My take on this is that you have to look at these things on a case by case basis - the viola in question has turned out to be great sounding, and projects well. The second professional who saw the viola in question picked it up, played it and loved it. I guess he wasn't a size queen...

It looks like the Darton did pretty well, considering the condition issues. 

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13 hours ago, John Alexander said:

Hi all,  

I am a new member and noticed this thread.  I bought this instrument at the Tarisio auction yesterday.  I’m a late adult beginner (1.5 yrs) and super excited to get it and try it out!

Hello, welcome and congratulations on your purchase. Let us know how you get on with it.

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13 hours ago, John Alexander said:

Hi all,  

I am a new member and noticed this thread.  I bought this instrument at the Tarisio auction yesterday.  I’m a late adult beginner (1.5 yrs) and super excited to get it and try it out!

I think you made a good choice - I’ve seen/heard a couple of other instruments by Darnton from that era that were really quite nice.

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