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Does a certificate of authentication mean much?


thisisbenwoo
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I saw an auction offered by Liveauctioneer that references an upcoming Dogny auction.

I am not familiar with the auction house, and the description does say that the instrument has an apocryphal label. A Parisian "expert" luthier authenticates all this.

But what does this authentication really mean either in the context of this auction or others?

Does it mean that if someone else disagrees with the assessment that you get your money back? Very new to this auction thing.

Thanks in advance. 

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It depends on the reputation and experience and qualifications of the person doing the "authentication."

If the person has no reputation, then their certificate of authenticity is basically worthless. 

In this case, Jean-Jacques Rampal is an internationally known expert in French string instruments, so a certificate of authenticity from him will add value to the instrument.

In most cases, auctions will not issue refunds for merchandise unless it was grossly mis-represented by them. Read the fine print carefully, and buyer beware!

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8 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

It depends on the reputation and experience and qualifications of the person doing the "authentication."

If the person has no reputation, then their certificate of authenticity is basically worthless. 

In this case, Jean-Jacques Rampal is an internationally known expert in French string instruments, so a certificate of authenticity from him will add value to the instrument.

In most cases, auctions will not issue refunds for merchandise unless it was grossly mis-represented by them. Read the fine print carefully, and buyer beware!

Thank you @GeorgeH.

So in this case the fact that M. Rampage says the label is doubtful is therefore ... Well, doubtful!

Being new to all this, so is there a list somewhere of reputable experts?

 

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3 hours ago, thisisbenwoo said:

Thank you @GeorgeH.

So in this case the fact that M. Rampage says the label is doubtful is therefore ... Well, doubtful!

Being new to all this, so is there a list somewhere of reputable experts?

 

1. M. Rampage has a cool name.

2. What are you trying to say about Rampal's assessment that the label is doubtful?  Are you saying that the assessment is doubtful?  That statement reads a little confusing.

3. As Mr. GeorgeH said, if you are looking to buy a violin to play, go direct.  IMO, certificates, lineage, etc. don't mean much unless the instrument is meant for investment purposes.  And if you are looking for an investment, buy real property, buy stocks, buy crypto (maybe not right now though).

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I have found that the only real investments are accidental ones. You find a widget you like, you buy it and you use it, and, surprise surprise, in 15 years you find that you have “an investment.” unless you are really really wealthy, buying a Strad for a million 4 today and selling it in two years for a million 5 is not on the menu.

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Thank you @GeorgeH - when I said new to "all this", I am referring to auctions. With COVID and the fact that many auctions houses aren't geographically near me, I am trying to learn a lot more about prospectively buying an instrument (or frankly anything) through an auction. I appreciate others who have commented that the best thing is to go to a reputable luthier. 

On 11/30/2021 at 6:55 PM, violinnewb said:

2. What are you trying to say about Rampal's assessment that the label is doubtful?  Are you saying that the assessment is doubtful?  That statement reads a little confusing.

@violinnewb, I'm not saying M. Rampal's assessment is doubtful at all! In fact, M. Rampal's certificate of authenticity states

Quote

Violon 4/4 dans sa configuration d'origine (manche d'origine), monté baroque, portant étiquette apocryphe de Carlo Guiseppe Testore, instrument français de la première partie du XIXème ...

that while the violin bears the label of Testore, it could be of doubtful authenticity.

Thank you to everyone for your advice. 

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52 minutes ago, thisisbenwoo said:

Thank you @GeorgeH - when I said new to "all this", I am referring to auctions. With COVID and the fact that many auctions houses aren't geographically near me, I am trying to learn a lot more about prospectively buying an instrument (or frankly anything) through an auction. I appreciate others who have commented that the best thing is to go to a reputable luthier. 

 

I would have thought that the only really important thing about buying a violin is that you love the sound, whatever the price.

Since 90% of all violins sound very poor, and since this percentage drops even further when you look at auction instruments (after all, many are put into auction by dealers because they sound hellish and haven't sold), it would seem to me that the most important thing is to be able to try a violin and to know that you can return it if you don't like it.

Many shops offer this service, whereas auction houses are expressly set up to sell items that will never come back. 

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I would have thought that the only really important thing about buying a violin is that you love the sound, whatever the price.

@martin swan, I wish I had the luxury of being able to afford a violin "whatever the price". I agree with everyone who advises to go to a reputable luthier, try, play, etc. and find a violin that works for my budget and one I love to play. 

As I read through the forum here, I see a lot of conversations around auctions - and I wanted to learn a bit more about them, how they work, how an instrument gets authenticated/provenance, etc. That's all! But thank you for your advice about trying and returning. I will definitely make sure I can do as you have suggested. Thanks again!

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The fact that an instrument has a reputable certificate and a guarantee of authenticity doesn't have any bearing on whether it will sound good.

For a violin to be worth buying, i should have a complete guarantee of authenticity, a complete disclosure of condition, and it should be something that you like the sound of after an intensive couple of weeks' trial ...

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