Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Mislabelling: Is the industry complicit?


Rue
 Share

Recommended Posts

To address this purely from the perspective of a dealer who aims for a high standard .....

The current practice of mislabelling (particularly rife on Ebay) is largely fuelled by the desire of musicians to get a bargain.

I fully accept that there are many bad apples in the trade (this is true of any markets in highly specialized collectables), but ironically the a priori mistrust that musicians feel for dealers is easily exploited by lowlifes, and further encouraged by orchestra spivs who aren't really dealers but just happen to have a nice bow in their case, teachers who are getting backhanders etc etc.

It seems to me that buying something in good condition as declared, with the best possible attribution and with long term guarantees, full trade-in policy etc. is rarely seen as "good value" from a musician's perspective. Which in turn leaves said musician ripe for exploitation or a victim of their own lack of knowledge.

I'm sorry to say that I accept Brumcello's assertion. I experienced this myself as a musician before I ever thought of becoming a dealer - however, my own naivety and hubris played quite a role.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 59
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

24 minutes ago, Rue said:

I would think that violin associations (*coffcoff* such as the VSA) could make a bit of a stink about it.

Their function is only so that one can go for a beer with friends and write it off as a business expense

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Consumers can/will still get bargains, consumers are good at ferreting out deals.  That's the joy of the hunt.

It wouldn't take long for consumers to get used to a 'new normal' in the violin market. 

The only unhappy group would be the 'crooks' (is there a more polite word I should be using?).

4 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

Their function is only so that one can go for a beer with friends and write it off as a business expense

Networking is important!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure!  But Thomas Jefferson said, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country".  So there's that bit of wisdom. ^_^

But I think the percentage of 'genuinely naive' sellers is relatively small - and not really part of the greater issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The shady relabeling business will continue to thrive so long as people put faith in labels.

There are forgeries and duplicitous practices in most (if not all) fields. It’s frustrating to have to navigate through the uncertainty, but it’s a reality, and that is why expertise is so valuable.

There isn’t a simple solution because it’s not a simple problem. Some might argue that it’s better to only buy from a living maker, but that isn’t always a guarantee, given that there are plenty of makers who put their names on instruments they didn’t make. That’s one of the reasons for the formation of organizations like the Cremona Consortium or the AFVBM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, martin swan said:

To address this purely from the perspective of a dealer who aims for a high standard .....

The current practice of mislabelling (particularly rife on Ebay) is largely fuelled by the desire of musicians to get a bargain.

I fully accept that there are many bad apples in the trade (this is true of any markets in highly specialized collectables), but ironically the a priori mistrust that musicians feel for dealers is easily exploited by lowlifes, and further encouraged by orchestra spivs who aren't really dealers but just happen to have a nice bow in their case, teachers who are getting backhanders etc etc.

It seems to me that buying something in good condition as declared, with the best possible attribution and with long term guarantees, full trade-in policy etc. is rarely seen as "good value" from a musician's perspective. Which in turn leaves said musician ripe for exploitation or a victim of their own lack of knowledge.

I'm sorry to say that I accept Brumcello's assertion. I experienced this myself as a musician before I ever thought of becoming a dealer - however, my own naivety and hubris played quite a role.

 

 

 

My serious concerns with this subject aren't with the low-end label fraud on eBay and the like (anyone who does their homework can avoid that), but with often well-organized and funded "provenance tweaking" around the middle of the market.  Honest practitioners persistently fail to draw public attention to the problem, even though many of us even peripherally involved in the violin trade are well aware of it.  Which certs and offerings would you not touch with a 3 metre pole?  I'm sure that there are some.  It's become sufficiently common that mistaken attributions of knowledgeably well-faked instruments have begun to contaminate the scholarly literature (also, rarely, but sometimes, intentionally).  That hurts us all.

At what point does "don't make waves" become tacit acquiescence in criminal activity?  :huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Maybe you just didn't know it when you had it.  :P  :lol:

Nope. 

1 hour ago, martin swan said:

It seems to me that buying something in good condition as declared, with the best possible attribution and with long term guarantees, full trade-in policy etc. is rarely seen as "good value" from a musician's perspective. Which in turn leaves said musician ripe for exploitation or a victim of their own lack of knowledge.

All the violins that I have ever bought from dealers have had these types of policies and warranties around them, and any honest dealer will have them in place, and most do. All of these policies plus acquiring, maintaining, and insuring an inventory are very expensive. There is "good value" in being able to try out and trial a number of well-set-up violins collectively worth $10s or $100's of thousands in one place at one time. 

But people get mad at dealers for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with the dealers' fairness, honesty, or integrity. Some of them just come to the table (and this website) with a chip on their shoulder against dealers and talk about "facts" that are not facts at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

but with often well-organized and funded "provenance tweaking" around the middle of the market. 

Please define your term "provenance tweaking," as I have not heard that expression before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Please define your term "provenance tweaking," as I have not heard that before.

A collection of techniques used to produce deceptive bench copies of vintage or contemporary fine makers' instruments.  Examples include having and using someone's original brands, meticulously copying their personal carving quirks, etc.

You won't find this stuff on eBay.  :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

But people get mad at dealers for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with the dealers' fairness, honesty, or integrity. Some of them just come to the table (and this website) with a chip on their shoulder against dealers and talk about "facts" that are not facts at all.

I do apologise. Clearly I am mistaken in my assessment of the scale of fraud in the violin world. I am just a little puzzled that, of the 1,000 instruments that Stradivari made, over 200,000 are still in existence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Brumcello said:

I do apologise. Clearly I am mistaken in my assessment of the scale of fraud in the violin world. I am just a little puzzled that, of the 1,000 instruments that Stradivari made, over 200,000 are still in existence.

Oh, those were his cousin Mark's

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Brumcello said:

I do apologise. Clearly I am mistaken in my assessment of the scale of fraud in the violin world. I am just a little puzzled that, of the 1,000 instruments that Stradivari made, over 200,000 are still in existence.

coffeescreen.gif.c3d71b359c06b43bde542bc983437270.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, jezzupe said:

 the best way to express it

it's all right there in black and white

I've always wondered, was that an ad lib at the end?

"We have so much time and so little to do.....strike that, reverse it."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would put this issue under the category of "intellectually bothersome" with little practical consequence.

I have an unlabeled 110 year old violin, with crude saddle and fingerboard fittings, that my mother sanded and refinished with polyurethane. (...really :-(  )Anyone interested?

Would a fake label enhance anyone's interest?

Fake labels are unlikely to sway a serious buyer, and a casual buyer is unlikely to be swayed by much more than the violin is worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Rue said:

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.

Are you offering to fund it? :)  (Lawsuits in the US can get very expensive.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, David Burgess said:

Are you offering to fund it? :)  (Lawsuits in the US can get very expensive.)

...and they can be very profitable as well.

I'm content to sit on the sidelines and offer up free advice.  However, if there's a big payout of some kind, I will be demanding a coffee for all my troubles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Are you offering to fund it? :)  (Lawsuits in the US can get very expensive.)

Pity some of those billionaires chasing Nobel Peace Prizes haven't seen fit to fund efforts in this area, but "making the world fair and just" for violin buyers probably isn't anywhere on their radar.  :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread confuses multiple issues into a big mishmash.

I suggest Rue narrow the specifics.  Are we talking about all instances of labels that do not reflect the maker of an instrument?  If not, which subset are we talking about?  If any of the latter, recognize that labeling is a completely separate issue from seller representations as to who made an instrument.  Which issue do you want to discuss?

If you want to talk about seller dishonesty, be sure to notice that similar misrepresentations occur in any field in which it is possible.  Then we can get down to addressing this widespread fact of life.  We will have to discuss laws, law enforcement, law enforcement budgets, lawsuits (yes you got there quickly, well done) and the accessibility of expertise.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...