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Best authority for certification in US


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1 hour ago, twcellist said:

A general question... who are the best people to go to get a 300 year old certified for authenticity in the US?

A 300 year old what? If it's a human being, I think any coroner would be able to do it ...

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19 minutes ago, GoPractice said:

And will mention that there are maker and region specific experts.

So I mentioned in another reply Italian Cello, but more specifically Milanese. I'm in LA and would prefer to bring it to an expert nearby, but at the same time if the best expert is in the east coast then I'll do whatever it takes to get it authenticated by the best and most respected.

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1 minute ago, twcellist said:

So I mentioned in another reply Italian Cello, but more specifically Milanese. I'm in LA and would prefer to bring it to an expert nearby, but at the same time if the best expert is in the east coast then I'll do whatever it takes to get it authenticated by the best and most respected.

Oh and I guess I should mention the cello already has papers from 3 experts, but they're all 40 to 50 years old I'm just wanting to get fresh papers.

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There are a number of people on the West coast who are very knowlegeble but whether they are willing to write an opinion I don't know. Off the top of my head you might call Roland Feller in SF, Grubaugh and Seifert in Petaluma, or Rafael Carraba in Seattle. If they don't do this kind of certification they may know who does.

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300 year old instruments when being sold at Tarisio come with 3rd party certificates from top experts, not appraisals from Tarisio itself, though I believe Reuning may have done appraisals for Tarisio at some time in the past.

I would take it to one of the LA experts I mentioned and simply ask them is there any possibility this is real in their opinion, If they say yes or possibly probably your best bet is to send it to Reuning, or better yet ask him if he will be on the West Coast anytime in the near future, shipping a valuable cello is really a nightmare, unless you fly it yourself and buy a seat for it.

And inbetween those two steps send clear pictures to Peter Ratcliff and make sure the wood is old enough for the label etc.

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22 hours ago, twcellist said:

So I mentioned in another reply Italian Cello, but more specifically Milanese. I'm in LA and would prefer to bring it to an expert nearby, but at the same time if the best expert is in the east coast then I'll do whatever it takes to get it authenticated by the best and most respected.

Chris Reuning is very busy, like so many of the fine people on this board, but he has been receptive and patient in the past when having spoken to him. You might contact him directly.

Most of the better shops in Southern California have a working relationship with Maestro Reuning. But the last time I spoke to him, it was in the Benning shop. If the access to the instrument is limited, perhaps this location might be the easiest and closest?  

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"Oh and I guess I should mention the cello already has papers from 3 experts, but they're all 40 to 50 years old I'm just wanting to get fresh papers. "

Are fresh papers like new instruments? Do you think there is a problem with the old ones? Not my field of expertise, I'm just curious.

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3 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

"Oh and I guess I should mention the cello already has papers from 3 experts, but they're all 40 to 50 years old I'm just wanting to get fresh papers. "

Are fresh papers like new instruments? Do you think there is a problem with the old ones? Not my field of expertise, I'm just curious.

Nice to have a live expert to defend an opinion...

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18 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

Are fresh papers like new instruments? Do you think there is a problem with the old ones? Not my field of expertise, I'm just curious.

It’s important to have relatively current certificates when you’re selling an instrument. There is new information being learned all the time, so even some of the papers that were written by experts who have otherwise stood the test of time are now called into question.

There have been a lot of experts whose judgment became erratic as they got to the end of their careers, not to mention the certificates that were questionable to begin with. As a result, some of them no longer carry any weight at all. I’m not trying to single anyone out, but I’m sure everyone can think of a couple examples.

When a significant amount of value is being attached to an instrument, having a well-documented consensus of opinions over the years becomes an important consideration.

@Jeffrey Holmes makes a great point about the value of a living expert. It’s worth a lot to have someone willing to go to bat for your violin if it’s called into question. This is also why it’s worth it to get the best certificate you can. Lots of people are eager to write one, but only a few have the authority to back it up. 

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58 minutes ago, The Violin Beautiful said:

@Jeffrey Holmes makes a great point about the value of a living expert. It’s worth a lot to have someone willing to go to bat for your violin if it’s called into question. This is also why it’s worth it to get the best certificate you can. Lots of people are eager to write one, but only a few have the authority to back it up. 

One of the neat things about purchasing an instrument from a living maker, is that the maker has probably not gone into such a severe state of mental decline, that they are no longer able to identify their own instruments. I know who made my instruments.


"Makers" who sell stuff, essentially made by other people, probably won't be able to do that with such a high degree of confidence.

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