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Schoenbach Deblaye


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After the recent discussion on a Deblaye violin I got curious as to what they were selling for in the US, and I did a quick  search on Ebay, along with the usual sources. Found this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/114346719532?ViewItem=&item=114346719532   Schoenbach scroll, Bathtub Stainer arching, never been anywhere close to Mirecourt. Feeling a bit contentious, I dropped a line to the consignor, told him I was perhaps in the market for a Deblaye but that his offering was not one. He wrote back telling me I was wrong, and that Fred Oster would provide a certificate  if need be. I provided some obvious examples as to why the listing was wrong, and the consignor got even more insistent referencing Tarisio and others.  Obviously, I'm not going to "win" or prove anything, but does anyone have any ideas what to do when they run across such blatant incompetence or fraud? Ebay has no controls whatsoever. BTW, I do sort of like Mirecourt shop violins. Some of my customers like the sound I get out of them, so I wasn't just being a gratuitous grouch.

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The seller at least offers a 30-day return which would give the buyer time to figure out that it was misrepresented. Also, even without this return policy, the buyer could return it under eBay's guarantee for being inauthentic.

Consider, too, Michael, that the seller might sincerely believe that it is a Deblaye.

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1 hour ago, Michael Richwine said:

After the recent discussion on a Deblaye violin I got curious as to what they were selling for in the US, and I did a quick  search on Ebay, along with the usual sources. Found this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/114346719532?ViewItem=&item=114346719532   Schoenbach scroll, Bathtub Stainer arching, never been anywhere close to Mirecourt. Feeling a bit contentious, I dropped a line to the consignor, told him I was perhaps in the market for a Deblaye but that his offering was not one. He wrote back telling me I was wrong, and that Fred Oster would provide a certificate  if need be. I provided some obvious examples as to why the listing was wrong, and the consignor got even more insistent referencing Tarisio and others.  Obviously, I'm not going to "win" or prove anything, but does anyone have any ideas what to do when they run across such blatant incompetence or fraud? Ebay has no controls whatsoever. BTW, I do sort of like Mirecourt shop violins. Some of my customers like the sound I get out of them, so I wasn't just being a gratuitous grouch.

This seller, violinonline, claims "We are based in Rockville, Maryland and work closely with the well-known luthier an repairman MICHAEL WELLER, who checks and adjusts our instruments before shipping", which seems a little difficult, considering that Weller retired and moved back to the Netherlands, https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/345145-michael-weller’s-retirement/ . :huh:

Since they've been on eBay since Dec 08, 1997, their member listing may simply be out of date.

eBay has an anti-fraud department, but getting their attention can be difficult, as can proving your case to their satisfaction.  Most diddled buyers seem to be tickled pink if they just get their money back, so I doubt if many cases get past that point..

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

The seller at least offers a 30-day return which would give the buyer time to figure out that it was misrepresented. Also, even without this return policy, the buyer could return it under eBay's guarantee for being inauthentic.

Consider, too, Michael, that the seller might sincerely believe that it is a Deblaye.

I gave him a pretty good case, citing the obvious points, and invited him to give Fred Oster a call if he indeed works so closely with him. I've dealt with Oster before and found him to be honest and well informed. Seller dropped several other names who would clearly know better, and the story keeps changing. He's supposed to be in Holland at the moment.....

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Yes, seller sounds quite sketchy.

I have worked with Fred since the late 70's; he did my first violin appraisals (still have the appraisal and one of the fiddles!). I was surprised this guy would name-drop him. Fred knows his stuff.

I was writing in more general terms. Some people put a "Strad" up for sale because that is what they honestly think it really is. And eBay will force a return and give you money back if listing is fraudulent or erroneous.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Yes, seller sounds quite sketchy.

I have worked with Fred since the late 70's; he did my first violin appraisals (still have the appraisal and one of the fiddles!). I was surprised this guy would name-drop him. Fred knows his stuff.

I was writing in more general terms. Some people put a "Strad" up for sale because that is what they honestly think it really is. And eBay will force a return and give you money back if listing is fraudulent or erroneous.

 

 

Sure. I always start with the benefit of the doubt, but don't ignore red flags that I have learned about, mostly the hard way. One of those is that a rating below 98% on Ebay is sketchy in itself.

Edited by Michael Richwine
Added thought.
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A significant number of French retailers and workshops sold this model in the early 1920s, and while it does look very Germanic, I think it's a moot point whether these violins are French or German.

There are all sorts of possible explanations, post WW1 reparations, cross-fertilisation between traditions, straight imports (Mirecourt is not so far from the German border).

In this case I would suspect that the label is genuine, and I don't think the price is outrageous either. So I would be pretty reluctant to stir up a shitstorm over it ...

I see fiddlecollector has just made the same point ...:lol:

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I have to grant that the varnish looks right, and the label looks authentic, and those are two factors one can't ignore. But I couldn't get around the 7:30 fluting and the German eyes, and the corners and the edges and the arching. I ran a production shop similar to a violin shop for years, and subsequently worked in a shop where violins were made on a semi-production basis, also for some years, and it takes quite a bit to get a bunch of craftsmen to change their way of doing things, unless you hire a bunch of craftsmen already trained in a particular method, and that may well have happened here. So it looks like I may have to eat some crow soon.....  As mentioned, Mirecourt isn't that far from Germany.

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I've given some more thought to the situation in the early 1920s. The largest battle of WWI, Argonne, ending the war, was fought around Mirecourt, causing great destruction, loss of life, and hardship. Bohemia ceased to exist in 1919, causing a lot of ethnic German violin makers to lose political representation. With displaced Sudeten German violin makers and Mirecourt makers needing labor, it's certainly plausible that Mirecourt factories (and they could be called factories) hired already trained German workers to make models they were already familiar with. Plausible, but I don't know whether it's historically accurate or not.

 

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11 minutes ago, Michael Richwine said:

I've given some more thought to the situation in the early 1920s. The largest battle of WWI, Argonne, ending the war, was fought around Mirecourt, causing great destruction, loss of life, and hardship. Bohemia ceased to exist in 1919, causing a lot of ethnic German violin makers to lose political representation. With displaced Sudeten German violin makers and Mirecourt makers needing labor, it's certainly plausible that Mirecourt factories (and they could be called factories) hired already trained German workers to make models they were already familiar with. Plausible, but I don't know whether it's historically accurate or not.

 

The displaced Schönbach violin makers, or better their children, that I have asked personally told me that they had all their possessions stolen, then had to walk to Nürnberg like beggars with nothing but the shirt on their back and subsequently got sent to Mittenwald, and later Bubenreuth

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So it makes a certain amount of sense to imagine Shoenbach workers making Schoenbach violins in a MIrecourt factory to meet market demands. Certainly more sense that it would make to retrain already-trained Mirecourt production workers to make Shoenbach violins. Anybody who has experience training and managing skilled or semi-skilled labor would see the point.

So, is a violin made in Mirecourt by Schoenbach-trained workers using Schoenbach methods and standards a Mirecourt violin, to be priced as a MIrecourt violin, or a Schoenbach violin?

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

The displaced Schönbach violin makers, or better their children, that I have asked personally told me that they had all their possessions stolen, then had to walk to Nürnberg like beggars with nothing but the shirt on their back and subsequently got sent to Mittenwald, and later Bubenreuth

I rad an article lately. perhaps linked by you, about conditions for instrument makers in Mittenwald in the 1950s. Pretty tough.

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3 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I expect you probably mean this one:

 

Correct! I lived in Germany in the 60s, worked as an interpreter. and many of my friends and colleagues had direct experience with the war and its aftermath either as children or adults, and much of the article's observations struck home with me.

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1 hour ago, Michael Richwine said:

So it makes a certain amount of sense to imagine Shoenbach workers making Schoenbach violins in a MIrecourt factory to meet market demands. 

The expulsion of the Schönbach Sudetendeutsche happened after WW2, not WW 1. Therefore Schönbach workers in Mirecourt during the between the wars period is a very unlikely scenario. OTOH there are notes that there was quite a business relation between Schönbach wholesalers and French dealers, so it's much more probable that they used parts or complete boxes supplied from there in Mirecourt.

The photos of the OP violin don't give much cleu about the construction method, so unfortunately there's not much to say about which construction method was used.

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Apparently after Deblaye died in the late 1920`s ,some of his workshop  production carried on by adopting machined  or roughly  machined   instruments. Also if you were making Austrian /German inspired models wouldnt the idea to be at least to make some details look German  rather than typical Mirecourt !

Some of the large dealers in France did sell German produced instruments as they are mentioned in several catalogues, just like they sold American made cases.

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