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Thoughts on this old cello?


clover
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I'm interested in any thoughts/opinions about this cello. 

This cello belonged to my dad, who died in 1990, which was shortly before I was born. It has had a hell of a lot of work done to it, and I've been told that it is interesting and old, but other than that I don't know much of anything about it. It has a label that reads something like "Anselmus Bellonus fecit venetus..." that I assume isn't hugely helpful. The pictures where it looks red are just the lighting (sun), the other pictures are much more true to life.

I think my dad bought it.. somewhere in Europe.. around.. the early 1970s?

Anyway! I'm interested in any thoughts that you fine folks here have about it. I gather that it's probably pretty tough to ID, but I'm also curious about anything that a more experienced eye might see as interesting. Also if you think it is a rubbish cello that belongs in the dustbin, no worries, he's dead so you can feel free to tell me :lol:

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I appreciate your showing the bows, they both look very interesting, but I can’t say anything more. What is the stamp on the top though? I can’t read it. “Bilke”?

I have my thoughts about the cello, but I’d rather let somebody else chime in.

Edited by PhilipKT
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14 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Is there a country stamped on the sticks behind the frogs?

Not that I can tell..

but after a little bit of digging it appears that Martin Otto Beilke was a bowmaker in Minnesota (USA) from early 1940s until early 1970s, which makes sense... since I live in Minnesota.

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The cello looks like Built on back construction, which is more likely to be Marknekirchen Germany, If the cracks are holding it should be good to go, but if there are major damages needing repair it could get expensive compared to the value of the cello, it looks nice, it has a lot of character, but I'm not any kind of specialist on cellos.

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Here is a clipping from a local newspaper that I found referencing Beilke in 1963. Maybe this is only funny to me because it is a local phenomenon, or maybe this is common for small unconsidered cities, but Minneapolis has apparently always been clamoring to be taken seriously (and it doesn't work). 

A headline that reads "City-made bow used by Isaac Stern" is a lot like... "one time a famous violinist touched a bow that was made in This City." It doesn't really make your city seem any more relevant, but rather less..

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Very sorry to hear of the untimely demise of your father. The cello shows some signs of originally having had a dark varnish. I would need to know what the corner blocks look like, and if the centre bout linings are let in, also where the scroll fluting finishes

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BTW, chances are slim that your Sartory is genuine, but you should definitely take much better photos and share here for the experts. Even if it’s a German bow with a meaningless stamp, each bow appears to be quite nice and the total package is the kind of thing anyone would want to find in their attic.

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So seems like maybe the usual.. makes sense, given that it usually is. Thought it'd be worth to see given a few comments I had gotten about the cello.

I've attached pictures of the scroll fluting, although I'd just as soon believe that it isn't original. Also have included the best I could get of the corner blocks--also featuring, among other repairs, a giant sound post patch on the belly.

And for no particular reason I have included a close up detail of one of the corners that has always struck me.. as.. interesting.

 

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On 7/8/2021 at 5:40 PM, PhilipKT said:

This is probably the information that you found, but just in case it’s not I thought I’d share.

That isn't the information that I found, it's quite interesting and more detailed than anything I have found--thank you very much! I took a peek under the frog and it is numbered as 189v. 

 

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9 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Well, come on then, what is it?

If I knew that, I would tell you first of course.:) As the OP said, it is difficult to pin down. I have a suspicion that it originally had a dark varnish, and I’m not absolutely certain that the scroll belongs to the body. That said, I would start my search anywhere between Mittenwald and Vienna

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21 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

BTW, chances are slim that your Sartory is genuine, but you should definitely take much better photos and share here for the experts. Even if it’s a German bow with a meaningless stamp, each bow appears to be quite nice and the total package is the kind of thing anyone would want to find in their attic.

Looks pretty convincing to me as a Sartory.  Nose has probably been  damaged and shortened which makes it look a little different to what it should bee, but yes, do show it to an expert in person.

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Ah, did figure it would be hard to pin, but thanks for taking a look at the pictures.

I have a vague memory of my grandmother telling me that the scroll wasn't original when I was a kid, presumably because she brought the cello to someone who told her that? I know basically nothing about varnish or identifying instruments, but for whatever it's worth--it would make a lot of sense to me that the cello had originally been a different/darker color. There is something quite unique, if not a little bit odd, about the color and the way that it reflects light (to my untrained eye).

A couple questions that linger if anyone has a thought--does the construction of the cello give any clues to it's age? I figure if it's difficult to pin down where it might come from, any idea of it's age might also be quite broad, but just checking.

Also, is stripping of varnish common for reasons like trying to obscure the origins of an instrument (similar to 'tarting up' a german instrument?) or is it just as common that someone thought it was ugly or messed it up?

I also think I remember hearing (when I was too young to care what it meant or who Sartory was) that the frog on the Sartory wasn't original. Though I haven't had my hopes up too high that is indeed genuine, and I don't know how much a replacement frog would alter the quality or value of a bow like that either.

My sister has been the cellist of the family, I'm comparatively new to it, but I recently have begun taking care of my fathers old stuff. I'm planning to haul the lot of it in to be looked at soon.

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The construction of the cello would suggest that it was made towards the end of the 18th. C. in the South German/Austrian area between Füssen and Vienna. Many of these originally had a dark varnish, which sundry idiots have washed off and replaced with a blond varnish.

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29 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I think it safe to assume that the current state of the button is what's left over after several rounds of DIY morons "optimising" the instrument

I don't think that any part of the button is even original.

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