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Possible Sam Zygmuntowicz Violin?


Nat N
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Greetings all,

My wife recently purchased online a rather fine looking violin. This will expose my ignorance, but when she said that it had Sam Zygmuntowicz on the label that did not immediately mean anything to me.

I did some research on Sam Z, got a bit excited, and then got suspicious. Some basic research on Tasario listings showed some discrepancies between what I had and some of his patterns in labeling. 

I attempted to contact Sam Z directly, but the email I had gotten from a friend is no longer active, and my attempts to track contact information down have not gotten anywhere. 

So I present to you a series of photos for your consideration. Regardless of who exactly made it, is a very nicely made instrument with some fine wood selection and a lovely finish.

Could it possibly be one of his? I suspect the answer is no, but I'd appreciate your consideration.

 

 My biggest three doubts are

1) No serial number or brand anywhere on the interior of the body.  I put a camera inside and looked around and found nothing. It would appear Sam Z has done this on some of instruments, I don't know if it is all

2) The date and location flip on Sam's label. All of the labels I've found have the location, then the year, this one is flipped.

3) The fact that some random person on the internet was selling it.

And finally, and I recognize the uncomfortable nature of the request, I would appreciate some contact information for Sam Z. If someone is passing off their work as his, he may want to know, and if this instrument looks to you as possibly one of his, I'd want to get verification from him if at all possible.

 

Labels 

Upper reads Joseph Guarnerius fecit

Cremonae anno 1735

Lower : Samuel Zygmuntowicz

2001 (2?) ~ New York

Measurements 

Body Length 355mm

Narrowest point at c bout 110mm

Widest point 209

Overall length 582

 

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From what I have observed with a zyg violin in person and also having looked at the Tarisio database it seems that he usually leaves some light gouge marks on the turns of the scroll. I do not see these on the OP violin.

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Well...we can all speculate until the cows come home...or you could just send Sam the photos and ask him ^_^.

I'm sure he'd be interested in finding out if someone is selling fakes with his name on them. 

Otherwise...enjoy the violin! It's innocent! 

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I met a lad from England who had a Ziggy, and the F holes were extremely distinctive, so was the varnish for that matter. I think the arching is a little bit lower than on this instrument as well, although it does look like a very nice violin.

After all if you’re going to fake the best, you got to start with something that’s pretty good.

Edited by PhilipKT
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13 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I met a lad from England who had a Ziggy, and the F holes were extremely distinctive, so was the varnish for that matter. I think the arching is a little bit lower than on this instrument as well, although it does look like a very nice violin.

After all if you’re going to fake the best, you got to start with something that’s pretty good.

It depends what model it is in regards to the F holes. He has a personal model which has double cuts on the edges of the wings as can be seen in the link below.

 

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Thanks everyone for the information and discussion!

I got in contact directly with Sam, and as Don had mentioned, he very clearly stated that the instrument is not one of his.

Sad, but not surprising. I suppose this is the modern equivalent of that Strad that everyone's great uncle has in the attic.

Next steps will be removing the Sam label and doing some research to find out anything about the previous owners or actual maker.

7 hours ago, Violadamore said:

So, @Nat N, if you get it set up, how does it sound?  Welcome to MN.  :)

It is a lovely sounding instrument. Very sweet tone. Not especially powerful, but I think a good choice for ensemble work. Before I removed bridge and etc, we had let a friend who plays with a number of regional orchestras demo it for a few days and she fell head over heels for it, knowing full well that the label was dodgy at best. So after we've done what we can to find out its history, the violin will shortly have a good home.

Maybe this isn't as strange as I think, but it continues to puzzle me that the violin is very well made, was very well set up, but then the act of "forging" was fairly half hearted. My suspicion is that the person who built the violin, and the person who inserted the label are two different people, but that remains speculation.

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48 minutes ago, Shelbow said:

I'm curious to what people make of the OP violin. I wonder if this could be early to mid 20th century American?

I'm thinking it would of been found sooner than yesterday so probably less than fifteen years old - pegbox inner workings appears American to me.

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11 hours ago, Don Noon said:

From Sam himself, after viewing the photos:  " I feel like I made the big time when people are faking my work!! The fiddle is just random, but someone was actively fraudulent with the label." 

Now, watch all the experts pile on to say that this was an “obvious” fake. 
:ph34r:

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