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Mislabelling: Is the industry complicit?


Rue
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You obviously can't change history, but you can improve on historical practices, set better precidents, "cancel" poor protocols.

If the majority of "old" violins were mislabelled, and the practice continues unabated, does that suggest the industry/market is complicit in this deception?

We already have laws in effect that prohibit fraud and misrepresentation, so why are sellers not worried?

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1 minute ago, jacobsaunders said:

In the 19th. C., every parsimonious fiddler on the Canadian Prairies wanted to play on a Stradivari as cheaply as possible. Isn’t it a bit ungrateful to complain that some nice Saxon gentlemen tried to satisfy your wishes?

I believe "we" were more interested in Amatis.

Nonetheless...

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2 minutes ago, MANFIO said:

The law aplied is that one valid in the time of the violin production. "Tempus regit actum".

Does that mean a seller in 2021 can continue to willfully engage in fraudulent mislabelling of antique instruments?

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4 minutes ago, Rue said:

Does that mean a seller in 2021 can continue to willfully engage in fraudulent mislabelling of antique instruments?

He is selling a second hand, used  instrument as it was produced.  Of course that if his sells it a real Amati or Strad he will get into trouble.

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It is a fact that many,  if not most, musicians distrust sellers of old instruments. Most have had a bad experience or at least heard of one. The default position is often to suspect the seller is lying. I have been told that a violin that I wished to sell had a soundpost crack and is therefore worthless, a good friend nearly bought a cello that was an insurance write off following a fire and I have lost count of the number of times my mediocre playing has been flattered by a seller who can see the possibility of making some cash. 

I would like to see sellers "up their game" but I don't hold out much hope.

 

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6 minutes ago, Brumcello said:

It is a fact that many,  if not most, musicians distrust sellers of old instruments. Most have had a bad experience or at least heard of one. The default position is often to suspect the seller is lying.

Actually, none of that is "a fact" at all unless you have a legitimate survey and data to show that it is true. It is only personal conjecture and projection of your own experience.

I have dealt with numerous dealers, and I have not had a bad experience yet, nor have individuals that I have directed and recommended to certain dealers.

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I don't think we have an "industry" , tha'd be like saying, "I want to speak to the manager of bitcoin!"  that being said, your right Rue, there are many lies that are perpetuated and kept perpetuated.

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I just think labelling something as correctly as possible, today, is the way foreward.

No one has, or should, change history.

If a 'Waldie' :ph34r: has, in the past, been labelled, for whatever reason, as a Silvestre, then upon resale it would be nice to see something along the lines of:

Manufactured in Mittenwald, circa xxxx-xxxx. Historically labelled as Silvestre.

...or...

Likely manufactured in Mirecourt circa xxxx-xxxx. Historically labelled as Guadagnini.

...or...

Unknown attribution.  Possibly manufactured in Markneukirchen circa xxxx-xxxx.

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1 hour ago, MANFIO said:

He is selling a second hand, used  instrument as it was produced.  Of course that if his sells it a real Amati or Strad he will get into trouble.

I'm not even talking about misrepresentation as a very expensive instrument, even the low-end instruments shouldn't be misrepresented as something slightly more expensive.

From years of reading on MN and looking at ID threads...apparently 90% are mislabelled and most? are resold with willful misrepresentation.

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19 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Actually, none of that is "a fact" at all unless you have a legitimate survey and data to show that it is true. It is only personal conjecture and projection of your own experience.

 

What do you consider to be a "legitimate survey", sufficient to establish "fact"?

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18 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Actually, none of that is "a fact" at all unless you have a legitimate survey and data to show that it is true.

I have spoken with probably hundreds of musicians over the last 40 years about this. Dozens of them have horror stories about themselves or friends being misled. Sure, there are many honest and excellent dealers around but you have to know who they are. You yourself have said you recommended certain dealers to people. This rather suggests that there are some shops you would not recommend 

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14 minutes ago, Rue said:

I just think labelling something as correctly as possible, today, is the way foreward.

No one has, or should, change history.

If a 'Waldie' :ph34r: has, in the past, been labelled, for whatever reason, as a Silvestre, then upon resale it would be nice to see something along the lines of:

Manufactured in Mittenwald, circa xxxx-xxxx. Historically labelled as Silvestre.

...or...

Likely manufactured in Mirecourt circa xxxx-xxxx. Historically labelled as Guadagnini.

...or...

Unknown attribution.  Possibly manufactured in Markneukirchen circa xxxx-xxxx.

If you were to label everything "correctly as possible", how long would it take you to get egg on your face?

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And of course, the 'dishonest' or willfully naive sellers then continue to profit, and the honest sellers are coloured by that activity.

I don't see that as fair.

So wouldn't the honest sellers want to stamp out this on-going deception?  Just because that's the way it's always been done doesn't mean it should continue.

Plus...comparing to fine art, I also think there are essentially three categories;

1. Deliberate counterfeiting (that's another topic)

2. Mislabelling a Waldie as a Strad (high payoff)

3. Mislabelling low-end instruments as slightly better quality instruments (smaller payoff, but in bulk).

It seems option 3 happens the most.

 

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1 minute ago, jacobsaunders said:

If you were to label everything "correctly as possible", how long would it take you to get egg on your face?

I think you'd have less egg on your face by the time you went to bed.

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16 minutes ago, Brumcello said:

I have spoken with probably hundreds of musicians over the last 40 years about this. Dozens of them have horror stories about themselves or friends being misled. Sure, there are many honest and excellent dealers around but you have to know who they are. You yourself have said you recommended certain dealers to people. This rather suggests that there are some shops you would not recommend 

Nope, I recommend dealers that I have worked with. I do not know any dealers that I would not recommend because of bad personal experiences.

I recently purchased a rather expensive violin online from a dealer in Chicago that I had never visited. My experience was excellent. 

Your anecdotal experience ("probably hundreds" "dozens of them") does not support your factual assertions. Sorry, it just doesn't. Furthermore, I'd suggest that the power of the marketplace and reputation would put bad dealers out of business pretty quickly. 

17 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

What do you consider to be a "legitimate survey", sufficient to establish "fact"?

A poll of a random sampling of the target group with the statistical power to show preferences within an acceptable margin of error. 

 

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1 minute ago, jacobsaunders said:

?

The honest sellers are already putting in the time to represent their instruments as accurately as possible.  We appreciate the honest sellers. :wub:

The shady characters wouldn't need to work so hard.  It would be easier to represent the instruments as what they are then putting the effort in to deceive.  Much cleaner...^_^

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

Does that mean a seller in 2021 can continue to willfully engage in fraudulent mislabelling of antique instruments?

You do read posts on "The Auction Scroll", right?  Ask "Marsupilami".  :huh::lol:

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17 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Your anecdotal experience ("probably hundreds" "dozens of them") does not support your factual assertions. Sorry, it just doesn't. Furthermore, I'd suggest that the power of the marketplace and reputation would put bad dealers out of business pretty quickly.

 

You are arguing semantics. I stated that it was a fact that many musicians distrust sellers of old instruments. The dozens I refer to supports my statement. As Mr Burgess implied, a reliable survey with statistical analysis is probably impractical and does not alter the fact that there are many shady dealers in the UK. Maybe the US is immune to this phenomenon but I would be very surprised if it was.

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17 minutes ago, Rue said:

...my point exactly!  Why does this continue to go on?  It benefits the dishonest and hurts the honest sellers.

The honest sellers are willing to represent themselves as being honest. So are most of the less-than-honest sellers.

What would you propose as a solution? Are you up for filing lawsuits against all those who bullshit, or misrepresent their products?

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Just now, David Burgess said:

The honest sellers are willing to represent themselves as being honest. So are most of the less-than-honest sellers.

What would you propose as a solution? Are you up for filing lawsuits against all those who misrepresent their products?

If I lived in the US I would! :)

Aren't there already unfair labelling laws?  I would think that violin associations (*coffcoff* such as the VSA) could make a bit of a stink about it.

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