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Tarisio- Violin ascribed to Landolfi


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On 5/28/2022 at 9:16 AM, Shelbow said:

You can let us know if it's worth 30 or 60k :wub:

Also if you wanted to record a little video of it I can host it as a private video on my YouTube channel for others on here to hear it?

I’d rather not give opinion till auction is over… 

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On 5/27/2022 at 6:39 AM, Giovanni Valentini said:

If only I had a conclusive answer! But by now I usually trust a $200 dendrochronological analysis more than a x-thousand $ certificate, because the former is reasonably hard scientific data, the latter often someone's expensive educated guess, which may be wiped away a few years later - either by dendrochronology, by the expert's declining reputation, or by a simple 'I don't think so'.

It always sends shivers down my spine when I see those instruments that have fallen from grace and makes me wonder how much my own investments are still worth (and for how much longer) where they rely on expert certification. E.g. you may remember a violin not long ago at Tarisio NY that had been a Strad, then a P. Guarneri of V. (all with top certificates) and eventually - after dendro - 'a violin'. How many people must have burnt fortunes over the years with that fiddle (and the cost of the certificates)! And this is by no means a unique case. Practically every major auction now has a couple of such instruments on special offer.

But one can also see the positive side and prey on these misfortunes: More recently, I have been able to buy fantastic instruments in the range of $8k-15k which previously had at least a zero added to their price and, as presumed priceless fiddles, had always received the best care money could buy (and which nobody would have exerted on 'a violin').

I would be interested what the price  of the ascr. Landolphi was in at BF in 2009 - I dare say not in the $15k-22k range. And that virtually invisible repair of multiple bass bar and sound post cracks surely did not come cheap either.

Long story short, I guess my answer would be that certificates which are in constant danger of being worth less than the paper they are written on perhaps ought be given a somewhat lesser role in the pricing of an instrument, whereas its musical qualities should move up on the ladder. Or perhaps not, otherwise there won't be any good instruments left that musicians can afford!

Not too long ago I posted a topic here asking how long till the certificates we accept as legit today (such as Rampal, Beare, Gindin, Blot) become worthless because of "new findings". It seems to be like the circle of life. One buys and invests life savings only to find tout 30-40 years later that the new violin "gods" do not agree with the attribution. 

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2 hours ago, germain said:

Not too long ago I posted a topic here asking how long till the certificates we accept as legit today (such as Rampal, Beare, Gindin, Blot) become worthless because of "new findings". It seems to be like the circle of life. One buys and invests life savings only to find tout 30-40 years later that the new violin "gods" do not agree with the attribution. 

Do you think it may also work in reverse: Buy that ex-Maggini now and in 30 time it will be a real one again :-)

There may even be some wisdom to my silliness: Is it preferable to buy a great violin when it is expensive or when the selfsame instrument is cheap? The bright side of being down on the ground is that one can't fall.

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17 hours ago, Giovanni Valentini said:

And if I was a cynic, I might begin to wonder whether you are the vendor ...

Luckily, we aren't!

But if you were, what part of what I wrote might induce you to surmise such a thing? The info is taken straight out of the condition report. And, regrettably, my supernatural powers don't stretch to reading people's minds, what they may or may not think/dream/know about the violin.

However, I do wonder what made Tarisio sell it as 'ascribed to', especially because this is not in their own financial interest to demote an instrument unless it is unavoidable. - But I suppose that was the initial question that sparked this discussion (and after nearly 50 contributions, I wonder if perhaps that was Tarisio's true intention?) ...

It would be interesting to check with Bein and Fushi on what their view is on this lot and certificate. The certificate is quite recent and given a decade back and am not too sure much has changed in their perspective in the last 10 years.

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On 5/27/2022 at 3:07 PM, Michael Darnton said:

The biggest lie players tell: "I'm just looking for tone, I don't care what it is or how much it costs."

They are totally free to do that right now but they can't.

What's the first question a player asks when you hand them an instrument to try?

"What is it?"

If you tell them something, Strad, Vuillaume, Gagliano, Scarampella, Roth, Mirecourt trade, whatever you say, their perception will be coloured by what they think the violin is, and they'll make more or less of an effort to try to find how to get the most from the instrument.

Here's a fun anecdote. Some 15-20 years ago, I was on tour with a chamber orchestra. The principal violist was a player who has been known as a successful dealer for many years. He brought along a double case with his Brothers Grancino viola for use in the orchestra, and a violin which he passed around to all of the violinists in the orchestra to get their feedback. He told everyone, "Don't pay any attention to the label. It's just a good copy."

The opinion of the orchestra's violinists was pretty unanimous. Nice fiddle, easy to play, not very powerful, could use more bass, could use more "core," good, but nothing special. 

When it was my turn, I gave it a good looking over. I noticed the pins, the purfling joints, the pin pricks on the center line of the scroll, and when I saw the corner blocks through the f-holes, I let out an audible "oh sh*t..." The violist/dealer who brought it immediately asked me not to say anything to the other players. It was a golden period Strad. 

In my opinion, it wasn't one of the finest Strads I'd ever played, but it was fairly typical. If those violinists who'd tried it knew what it was, they would have tried different bow speeds, pressures and contact points until they could get the Strad working optimally, and they would probably have reacted quite differently to it.

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I always tell them not to look, but as soon as I leave the room I see them sneaking a look at the labels. Many years ago I was adjusting for a customer. There was one particular violin that was a bargain, and the player went right by it. The salesman, also a good and busy teacher, suggested that the customer try it with a slightly different bowing style. He did, it sounded fantastic and he said that, but he walked out with a greatly inferior violin that didn't require him to change his approach. Violinists are their own worst enemies. 

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6 hours ago, Michael Appleman said:

In my opinion, it wasn't one of the finest Strads I'd ever played, but it was fairly typical. If those violinists who'd tried it knew what it was, they would have tried different bow speeds, pressures and contact points until they could get the Strad working optimally, and they would probably have reacted quite differently to it.

My first encounter with a Strad was as a postgraduate when I went blind tasting instruments (as I still do). I was taking notes at Sothebys and distinctly remember one instrument that I particularly disliked and could not make respond or sound good for the life of me. It turned out to be the star of the show - a Strad. This was not one of the best, but for the 'mere' 2 million I would have hoped for something better!

I also heard from an acquaintance, whose ensemble was given a Strad quartet to play on for a while, that this was a mixed blessing. Two of the instruments were fabulous, the other two were not (including the one he ended up with). In addition, they did not work well together. I think he was quite relieved when he borrowed one of my (by comparison very cheap) instruments after that.

So apparently even the knowledge of playing a Strad does not always help!

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7 hours ago, Michael Appleman said:

What's the first question a player asks when you hand them an instrument to try?

"What is it?"

If you tell them something, Strad, Vuillaume, Gagliano, Scarampella, Roth, Mirecourt trade, whatever you say, their perception will be coloured by what they think the violin is, and they'll make more or less of an effort to try to find how to get the most from the instrument.

Here's a fun anecdote. Some 15-20 years ago, I was on tour with a chamber orchestra. The principal violist was a player who has been known as a successful dealer for many years. He brought along a double case with his Brothers Grancino viola for use in the orchestra, and a violin which he passed around to all of the violinists in the orchestra to get their feedback. He told everyone, "Don't pay any attention to the label. It's just a good copy."

The opinion of the orchestra's violinists was pretty unanimous. Nice fiddle, easy to play, not very powerful, could use more bass, could use more "core," good, but nothing special. 

When it was my turn, I gave it a good looking over. I noticed the pins, the purfling joints, the pin pricks on the center line of the scroll, and when I saw the corner blocks through the f-holes, I let out an audible "oh sh*t..." The violist/dealer who brought it immediately asked me not to say anything to the other players. It was a golden period Strad. 

In my opinion, it wasn't one of the finest Strads I'd ever played, but it was fairly typical. If those violinists who'd tried it knew what it was, they would have tried different bow speeds, pressures and contact points until they could get the Strad working optimally, and they would probably have reacted quite differently to it.

Hahaha this story doesn't surprise me at all... musicians

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I can't help but reply in a slightly off topic manner on bows. I never look at the stamp on a bow in a shop until I have compared every bow available in the stock so I won't be influenced. I doubt Michael remembers it but on one occasion I had asked Stefan to provide an assortment of violin bows in the 3K to 8K range or so for me to try. Unfortunately, Stefan had to be out of the shop, but the bows were laid out and I began to play through them. They were all very good but one was simply outstanding in the tone and ease of drawing the bow. I was so excited thinking that, whatever it was, it couldn't be more than $8K and I would be happy to pay that. I noticed a "Peccatte" stamp and thought it was likely a nice copy, perhaps German.  But when Michael looked up the stock number, lo and behold it was no copy! And a bit out of the price range to say the least.  Much more recently I stopped by and saw Stefan and he laid out a selection of bows in a much more expensive class than I had been sampling and again one stood out as spectacular. I only looked at the stamp after being overwhelmed and saw that it was stamped "Vuillaume" but naturally the maker was again Peccatte. Still beyond my means but what a gorgeous bow and what a sound. 

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5 hours ago, Ray Weaver said:

I can't help but reply in a slightly off topic manner on bows. I never look at the stamp on a bow in a shop until I have compared every bow available in the stock so I won't be influenced. I doubt Michael remembers it but on one occasion I had asked Stefan to provide an assortment of violin bows in the 3K to 8K range or so for me to try. Unfortunately, Stefan had to be out of the shop, but the bows were laid out and I began to play through them. They were all very good but one was simply outstanding in the tone and ease of drawing the bow. I was so excited thinking that, whatever it was, it couldn't be more than $8K and I would be happy to pay that. I noticed a "Peccatte" stamp and thought it was likely a nice copy, perhaps German.  But when Michael looked up the stock number, lo and behold it was no copy! And a bit out of the price range to say the least.  Much more recently I stopped by and saw Stefan and he laid out a selection of bows in a much more expensive class than I had been sampling and again one stood out as spectacular. I only looked at the stamp after being overwhelmed and saw that it was stamped "Vuillaume" but naturally the maker was again Peccatte. Still beyond my means but what a gorgeous bow and what a sound. 

Credit scores ( here in the US ) matter.

When Shops are generous, one should take advantage of the opportunities given. They are offering, the customer, "you," the opportunity to try something. Do not get flustered, re- focus, and enjoy. Some ( instruments and bows ) are very good.

Try not be shy. Try to be objective. Perhaps be appreciative of the experience. 

Do not let labels form opinions. The better dealers will be kind to their customers.

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Oh I appreciate the opportunity that Stefan and Michael have given me on a number of occasions to try some marvelous things (I even bought and played on one of Michael's violins for several years) and I consider their shop to be above reproach in attitude and commitment to serving their clients.  Fred Oster in Philadelphia has also always gone out of his way to provide me not only with choices in the ranges I was seeking but to also experience many fine instruments and bows after our initial business was concluded. In fact I have had largely positive interactions with various shops and people over the years (The Becker's in Chicago, Jeffrey Holmes, and a number of others) and very few negative ones - or even neutral ones. I feel absolutely blessed by the experiences. I hope my post was not understood as criticism of them at all! 

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23 hours ago, Ray Weaver said:

 ( ... )  I feel absolutely blessed by the experiences. I hope my post was not understood as criticism of them at all! 

Sorry for the tangent. I tend to sound scold-y. Also have angry resting face. 

So much of my knowledge acquired the past several decades is due to the generosity of many dealers and players.

I am grateful for their sharing and patient, but would add that it helps as a visitor to be respectful.

When I was very young and ignorant, the first dozen Strads encountered were shown to me by collectors and doctors. Nothing outstanding in what I saw or was able to evaluate. I assumed that they were of good quality because I was told they were good. The next dozen or so were shown to me by artists. These sounded and looked much better. It was not until the better dealers pointed out details in lesser instruments that the appreciation for an assortment of older and newer instruments developed.

Started visiting dealers within a reasonable distance again, and have seen or heard some of "the regulars" on occasion. One Phil player has an unmistakable laugh. But it has been a bit more touchy as to what parents or players are willing to spend given the lack of opportunities to play/ participate - so it seems to me. Just my observations. Heard a few student ensembles in the past month and was "underwhelmed." Not my words, but those of my student who also went to observe ( friends.)  

Looking at violins in the lower to mid 5 figures and the cello teachers I have met at the shops are generally in the high 5 figures. Instruments expected to at least a decade, with reasonable trade- in value. People are buying. Having gone back to re- examine two pieces within the month was shocked to learn that they were sold. Now am feeling a bit more anxious. There are quite a few players who did practice the past two years, and want to start up again.   

So look forward to hearing about the attendance and the interest at the auctions. Knowing what people paid for wood at auction, would assume another bump in pricing for new instruments and expect a bump in older ones too.

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On 5/27/2022 at 7:40 AM, Blank face said:

I wonder who will be the respected experts in "musical qualities" thereafter, what will be the costs of their expertise, and what will happen after they'll fall out of reputation. Maybe even by a simple "Sounds like crap IMO."

You can avoid all the uncertainty by not buying violins with alleged provenances worth certification.  :ph34r: ;)

On 5/27/2022 at 8:05 AM, Giovanni Valentini said:

...........In my blind tasting of instruments I am often surprised how little correlation there is between price and practical aspects such as sound quality and playability................

I'm seldom surprised any more, because I'm used to it.  :lol:

With regard to several of the later comments, IMHO, if you approach every violin you try out as if there might be a Golden Cremonese hidden in there somewhere, and try every technique you know of to get the sound out, you'll find a much greater number of excellent violins for much less money.  I realize that some people can't do that, because their status is bound up with what they play, but I feel that it's the best way to shop, for most of us.  :)

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On 5/27/2022 at 5:38 PM, martin swan said:

Agree but with lesser makers they principally list instruments they have sold at Tarisio........

And with some they've sold a few of, they don't even do that:ph34r:

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3 hours ago, martin swan said:

You can always buy well if you buy the stuff that no-one else wants.

I estimate that I've avoided several million dollars in debt that way.  :lol:  "Strads without a lifetime of slavery"..........  :D

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39 minutes ago, Shelbow said:

@germainyou were pretty close with your estimate! 50k + fees

Yep... now the question is after you factor in the premium can one sell it for more? It was not a great sounding example. It's ok. With a new set up and putting another $2-4K in fine adjustments perhaps will make it sound better.

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