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Violin labelled Nicolaus Amatus fecit in Cremona 1639


Dianadelphine
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Hello I have a great grandfather’s violin that reads Nicolaus Amatus fecit in Cremona 1639. The last 2 digits are handwritten. Also has a made in Germany label inside. Is it an original or a copy? 

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it is a copy made in Germany, probably late 18th to early-mid 20th century.  Probably patterned after a Nicola Amati instrument (b 1594 - d 1684, who is usually considered the best of the Amatis.  This German maker/shop probably made copies of several Amati Instruments, thus the hand written last 2 digits identifying the year of the Amati that was copied, they could print up one label and use it for several instruments, or they just did that to emulate old Cremona labels that often did this. 

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1 hour ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sorry, it's not a copy of anything, just a random label thrown in a German trade violin

I agree, these violins bear no resemblance to an actual Amati. Those who claim they are copies, clearly have never seen an Amati, or probably any good violin.

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2 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

I agree, these violins bear no resemblance to an actual Amati. Those who claim they are copies, clearly have never seen an Amati, or probably any good violin.

Yes, there are tens of thousands of these not Amati copies with apocryphal Amati Fahrkarten. Reminds me of an anecdote I told some years ago https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/328294-emanuel-adam-homolka/&do=findComment&comment=586038

 

 

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12 hours ago, Dianadelphine said:

Hello I have a great grandfather’s violin that reads Nicolaus Amatus fecit in Cremona 1639. The last 2 digits are handwritten. Also has a made in Germany label inside. Is it an original or a copy? 

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It's an original German commercial violin. 

Trump's not the first or only one in the world to habitually lie.  And violin buyers aren't the world's only fools who stubbornly prefer an appealing lie to unappealing truth.

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'Made in Germany' on a label would typically be found on violins from the inter-war period c1920s-30s. (i.e. usually not found before WW1 or after WW2 apart from modern post unification instruments).

 

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20 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sorry, it's not a copy of anything, just a random label thrown in a German trade violin

How do you know its not just a very poor copy?  My 9 year old tries to "copy" works of art all the time, they end up looking rather horrible and no resemblance to the originals, are these not "copies?" Just asking.

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1 hour ago, Dave Slight said:

Not necessarily.

Different countries had their own rules about imported goods bearing the country of origin, and at different periods. That Made in Germany is written in English, doesn’t mean it was imported to England.

1 hour ago, Dave Slight said:

The violin will be from circa 1900.

Yes, my apologies. In Britain the requirement to include 'Made in Germany' was introduced for imports following the Merchandise Marks act of 1887.

In the USA the labelling requirement of the McKinley tariff act was amended in 1914, to include the words 'made in' and the country of origin. After 1921 the country of origin also had to be written in English.

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5 hours ago, violinnewb said:

How do you know its not just a very poor copy?  My 9 year old tries to "copy" works of art all the time, they end up looking rather horrible and no resemblance to the originals, are these not "copies?" Just asking.

Because the people here know how the German violin-making cottage industry was set up. There was no (widespread) attempt to copy anything in particular - just to attach famous name labels to their products. (Which was done I believe by the traders who bought and oversaw the violin fabrication rather than the craftspeople themselves.)  A Schachtelmacher ("box maker") in 1910 Saxony had no access to a model he (presumably, he) could have copied. 

(I have a recent Romanian cello with a fake German name label claiming it's a Goffriller copy when I'm sure it's nothing of the sort - this is still going on today.) 

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On 6/24/2022 at 1:09 PM, pyrola_asarifolia said:

Because the people here know how the German violin-making cottage industry was set up. There was no (widespread) attempt to copy anything in particular - just to attach famous name labels to their products. (Which was done I believe by the traders who bought and oversaw the violin fabrication rather than the craftspeople themselves.)  A Schachtelmacher ("box maker") in 1910 Saxony had no access to a model he (presumably, he) could have copied. 

(I have a recent Romanian cello with a fake German name label claiming it's a Goffriller copy when I'm sure it's nothing of the sort - this is still going on today.) 

Meh.  I don't deal with absolutes or binary assumptions.  Even if it was common practice to slap on a label purporting a copy, unless you know of a more trustworthy source, a generalization does not make a statement necessarily true.

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1 hour ago, violinnewb said:

Meh.  I don't deal with absolutes or binary assumptions.  Even if it was common practice to slap on a label purporting a copy, unless you know of a more trustworthy source, a generalization does not make a statement necessarily true.

It has no features of an Amati and reveals no attempt to incorporate any Amatese features. It’s a very standard generic MK/Sch model.

Could we possibly agree to elevate Maestronet discussions beyond “meh” …?

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6 hours ago, martin swan said:

It has no features of an Amati and reveals no attempt to incorporate any Amatese features. It’s a very standard generic MK/Sch model

For my information - tossing an Amati label into a Strad model violin is not a copy, because the maker made no attempt to replicate the essential features of an Amati violin.  So a 'copy' is a violin that was made with the intent to reproduce characteristic features of the products of the maker indicated on it's label - ?

Then there's the replica of the Kreisler del Gesu with the actual (not dG's) maker's name on the label.  Still a copy I guess, because the maker deliberately incorporated Kreisler characteristics into the violin - except for the label.  Then there's the replica of the Kreisler del Gesu with the fake Vuillaume label.  Still a copy certainly, but ...

Maybe it's easier to define what is not a copy...?  I'm having a little fun here and I don't mean to offend - the serious question is: what is the criteria for differentiating among violins that are 'copies' and those that aren't?

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I'm starting to feel rather sorry for Martin, Jacob, Blankface and the others here who know their onions and are offering free advice to allcomers. The world is full of ordinary violins with false labels - have they got to explain and justify their expertise over every one?

I'm reminded of days gone by when at this time of year I'd be involved with breeding bird counts in my local area. Mostly they'd be identified not by sight but by their sound. A second of song is usually enough to distinguish a wren from a chaffinch, blackcap or what have you, but how do I know it wasn't a Pallas's leaf warbler with a frog in its throat? The answer is I don't "know" (I don't deal with absolutes either) but I am "sure" on the basis of evidence, knowledge, practical experience and probability.

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On 6/27/2022 at 1:03 PM, martin swan said:

It has no features of an Amati and reveals no attempt to incorporate any Amatese features. It’s a very standard generic MK/Sch model.

Could we possibly agree to elevate Maestronet discussions beyond “meh” …?

My apologies. I will leave out the unnecessary expression of unimpressedness (ie: "meh.")

I still stand behind the rest of my response.  Most of you guys are masters in your field. While I am not, I do not necessarily think a blanket assertion that a violin is "not a copy of anything" without more information is really responsive to the OP's question.  While my answer was somewhat contrite, it affirmatively answered whether the OP's violin was original or a copy.  Amati was Italian.  The label says "Made in Germany."  

If one were to assert it was not a "copy of anything" one could assert a little more information as to why.  In this case, the response did not.  

Then, a follow up response from a different member attempted to generalize the German trade industry.  Still, it does not really provide how anyone knows whether the violin was a copy, poor copy or even a truly absurd attempt at copying.  

As to your response, you asserted observations on features.  That is helpful and more conducive to the thread.  Your response, Mr. Swan, is an elevated response.  I meant no offense and apologize for any offense taken. Thank you.

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2 hours ago, Spelman said:

That sospiri can be a real ass at times

I could say the f hole nicks are more akin to Andrea Amati. Nicolo Amati fs are almost vertical down the middle of their length and the notches form the corners of a rectangle. A feature which is rarely copied correctly.

Would that appease you? 

 

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On 6/28/2022 at 12:49 AM, matesic said:

I'm starting to feel rather sorry for Martin, Jacob, Blankface and the others here who know their onions and are offering free advice to allcomers. The world is full of ordinary violins with false labels - have they got to explain and justify their expertise over every one?

To clarify in light of the above comment (which I understand may not have been written as a response to mine) - in my case no, I'm not asking for justification but rather for a definition.  If I want a meaningful definition I usually try to find a reliable source for an answer, and I appreciate that sometimes the more you know the more difficult it can be to give a meaningful response to a naïve question.  I also appreciate the expertise of these people and their willingness to engage on MN.

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