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Philipp Keller violin...


Renegade
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Hi everyone,

...can I ask you for help in recognizing the original (or not :)

...is this a violin that I want to buy for my daughter who has been playing for 6 years?

1. Can you comment on their originality?

2. Label ... mine is the simplest of the presented ones, but I have a theory :)

I believe that the violin I want to buy is older than the ones in the other photos. ...Philipp studied under Fryderyk Meindl, and then took over his workshop - hence, at the beginning of his independent work, he put the name Meindl on the sticker (legally or in honor of his master).
...The name Meindl is no longer displayed on other stickers.
Secondly, the coat of arms appears on subsequent stickers. I think it has to do with his position (March 7, 1908) - a violin supplier to the Bavarian court (besides, the sticker says "Hoflieferant"). That is why I believe that the remaining violins (with the coat of arms) were made after 1907. :)

What do you think about it?

 

...my label

my label.jpg

 

other label...

other label (4).jpg

other label (3).jpg

other label (1).jpg

other label (2).jpg

 

...I want to buy this violin

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Edited by Renegade
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46 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

The violin shown in the pictures looks to be the standard Markneukirchen/Schonbach trade violin, made in their thousands.

 

Someone wrote to me privately that:
19th C Mittenwald "Verleger" violin and Keller would have stuck his label in in his function as a shopkeeper...

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

As if what, do not comment further.
I just can't stop staring :/

PS: center and right, original Keller

PS2: As for my 'ignorance', I have to admit that for sale as 'Verleger' he chose quite, quite...

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Can you please listen to me for a moment, it will be short.

I refer to the violin on the left, i.e. my 19th C Mittenwald "Verleger".

1. I read on this Forum that there were 'sometimes' quite successful 'Verleger' violins - so we have the first 'possibility'

2. Keller was known for his craftsmanship, and is considered the 'master' of the region - we have a second, possible positive assessment.

3. And this is my most important premise... in 1908, he was appointed a supplier to the Saxon court, I think it was not easy, and the decision to appoint him was followed by a very good reputation as a master violin maker, and most importantly - a picky, trusted seller!
So he probably paid attention to what he was selling in addition to his works.
So he can probably assume that when he applied his label to a commercial violin, it was a good quality violin.

For me, the conclusion - my 19th C Mittenwald "Verleger" - is a good and remarkable violin.
... 'pearl in the crown' of my Collection :P

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Your violin on the left isn’t Mittenwald but Schönbach, as you were told before. The other might be Mittenwald, as far it is possible to tell from the photos, but not „by Keller“, just sold and labeled on his shop. Because he did this with instruments from different sources there will be no „original Keller“ nor any recognizable style. Similar applies in my experience to Dölling BTW.

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Thank you, I just had a phone call ...:)
Another confirmation that this is: Markneukirchen "Dutzendarbeit".

So I have a Markneukirchen "Dutzendarbeit" with a trade label stuck by some seller sucker :)
Some time frame ... or at least, is it pretty? :) ... a set of photos at the top of the post.

 

PS: propos Robert Dolling, apart from auctions, there is nothing on the Internet about him.

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Your violin is a quite average Schönbach with lots of screwdriver antiquing and not remarkable in any way. „Hoflieferant“ was just title for good business relationship, but not for any special quality. He surely ha a lot of different grades to offer, some Mittenwald as we see, some Schönbach for the common people. Just the way as many merchants of the period did.

Reg. Dölling I thought of Louis D., whose labels can be found in all kinds and qualities, too. Robert might have been a relative of him delivering to the USA.

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13 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Your violin is a quite average Schönbach with lots of screwdriver antiquing and not remarkable in any way. „Hoflieferant“ was just title for good business relationship, but not for any special quality. He surely ha a lot of different grades to offer, some Mittenwald as we see, some Schönbach for the common people. Just the way as many merchants of the period did.

Reg. Dölling I thought of Louis D., whose labels can be found in all kinds and qualities, too. Robert might have been a relative of him delivering to the USA.

Thank you so much for your reply ... and your time.

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I know that not everything is 'black and white'.

Therefore, there are 'subject matter experts', those the less seasoned ones, and the novices too.
In addition, there is such a thing as a 'context' ... and only a trained eye and vast knowledge of specialists can be infallible.
Yours preliminary assessments of the origin of these violins, and recent conclusions, is...Markneukirchen "Dutzendarbeit".

Before that, I read the text (old Jacob post) ...and others, and allowed myself to try to analyze. I have a few doubts.

Will you help dispel 'my' doubts by making 'calm' comments?

I (and maybe a few other people) look and judge ... most often wrongly.
It's about your interpretation of what you see in the photos, what according to 'you' is ... big / small, sharp / round, hidden / protruding, ... etc.

The posted descriptions are my assessment of what I see. Your professional interpretation is something else.

1. slightly rounded (I don't know how to interpret, MN?)
2. thin, rather sharp (MW?)
3. no delta (MW)
4. rather angular, sharp (MN?)
5. I see 'bee stings' (MW)
6. (6a) The bottom rib of a Mittenwald Verleger violin is with occasional exceptions in one piece (for me, MW), 6b - may be a crack
7. Fluting - you can't see much.
8. The Dutzendarbeit ribs often end at the furthest protrusion of the back/belly corners, whereas the Mittenwald ones stop a couple of mm before the end of the back/belly corners.
For me, the upper connection is sharp, chamfered (MN), the lower connection is wide (MW), and both - ribs stop a couple of mm before the end of the back/belly corners (MW)

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For me none if this is correct, and I seriously think you are wasting huge amounts of time trying to acquire knowledge which can only be acquired by hands-on examination of hundreds if not thousands of violins.

Many of the features you point to can only be used to distinguish Mittenwald and Markneukirchen in the 19th century. Once we move into the 2nd decade of the 20th century most of these distinctions break down.

The bottom rib appears to me to be 2 piece.

Bee-stings, scroll carving, these are points of style not regional traits.

If your intention is genuinely to find a good violin for your daughter, you would do her the greatest service by buying a violin from a trustworthy shop. It needs to be well set up, and your daughter needs to be able to play it and to be sure she loves the sound before you spend money.

Grubbing around on Ebay looking at violins with no set-up is a guaranteed way to waste huge amounts of time and money. You are very very unlikely to find anything which sounds as good as a better level Jay Haide.

 

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28 minutes ago, martin swan said:

For me none if this is correct, and I seriously think you are wasting huge amounts of time trying to acquire knowledge which can only be acquired by hands-on examination of hundreds if not thousands of violins.

Many of the features you point to can only be used to distinguish Mittenwald and Markneukirchen in the 19th century. Once we move into the 2nd decade of the 20th century most of these distinctions break down.

The bottom rib appears to me to be 2 piece.

Bee-stings, scroll carving, these are points of style not regional traits.

If your intention is genuinely to find a good violin for your daughter, you would do her the greatest service by buying a violin from a trustworthy shop. It needs to be well set up, and your daughter needs to be able to play it and to be sure she loves the sound before you spend money.

Grubbing around on Ebay looking at violins with no set-up is a guaranteed way to waste huge amounts of time and money. You are very very unlikely to find anything which sounds as good as a better level Jay Haide.

 

Martin, thank you so much for your reply.
It wasn't about that - whether to buy or not.
Rather for further education.
You know you're 100% right, yes, only MN / MW ...
But your take on entering the second decade of the 20th century ... was already something very specific ... telling me to be vigilant over that period.
I know ... tens of thousands of cheap mixed-up violins, nuance, geopolitical confusion and hundreds of other events.

I have no aspirations for ... anything on this topic.
Only, probably like everyone else, I'm curious about the world.
Actually, the world of the violin :)

Have a nice day

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

For me none if this is correct, and I seriously think you are wasting huge amounts of time trying to acquire knowledge which can only be acquired by hands-on examination of hundreds if not thousands of violins.

Many of the features you point to can only be used to distinguish Mittenwald and Markneukirchen in the 19th century. Once we move into the 2nd decade of the 20th century most of these distinctions break down.

The bottom rib appears to me to be 2 piece.

Bee-stings, scroll carving, these are points of style not regional traits.

If your intention is genuinely to find a good violin for your daughter, you would do her the greatest service by buying a violin from a trustworthy shop. It needs to be well set up, and your daughter needs to be able to play it and to be sure she loves the sound before you spend money.

Grubbing around on Ebay looking at violins with no set-up is a guaranteed way to waste huge amounts of time and money. You are very very unlikely to find anything which sounds as good as a better level Jay Haide.

 

I agree with this! If you're buying an instrument for your daughter, go to good shops, and look at, and play, what they have. They can advise you on what you're looking at, and playing.

Most ebay sellers of old, vintage instruments are either ignorant about what they are selling, or dishonest. The prices on ebay have also shot up to a point where I no longer even look there for instruments to restore.

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3 hours ago, Renegade said:

I know that not everything is 'black and white'.

Therefore, there are 'subject matter experts', those the less seasoned ones, and the novices too.
In addition, there is such a thing as a 'context' ... and only a trained eye and vast knowledge of specialists can be infallible.
Yours preliminary assessments of the origin of these violins, and recent conclusions, is...Markneukirchen "Dutzendarbeit".

Before that, I read the text (old Jacob post) ...and others, and allowed myself to try to analyze. I have a few doubts.

Will you help dispel 'my' doubts by making 'calm' comments?

I (and maybe a few other people) look and judge ... most often wrongly.
It's about your interpretation of what you see in the photos, what according to 'you' is ... big / small, sharp / round, hidden / protruding, ... etc.

The posted descriptions are my assessment of what I see. Your professional interpretation is something else.

1. slightly rounded (I don't know how to interpret, MN?)
2. thin, rather sharp (MW?)
3. no delta (MW)
4. rather angular, sharp (MN?)
5. I see 'bee stings' (MW)
6. (6a) The bottom rib of a Mittenwald Verleger violin is with occasional exceptions in one piece (for me, MW), 6b - may be a crack
7. Fluting - you can't see much.
8. The Dutzendarbeit ribs often end at the furthest protrusion of the back/belly corners, whereas the Mittenwald ones stop a couple of mm before the end of the back/belly corners.
For me, the upper connection is sharp, chamfered (MN), the lower connection is wide (MW), and both - ribs stop a couple of mm before the end of the back/belly corners (MW)

 

 

 

 

No question, that fiddle comes from the Markneukirchen/ Schoenbach area, or at least a maker trained in that area.  The photographs are not dispositive, though. They are poorly lit and poorly focused, so that when you blow them up detail is lost, such as the seam in the bottom rib that just disappears, and all details in the throat of the scroll. You can't see whether  the corners are mitered or pinched.

There were 'maker' shops in Schoenbach, as well as cottage industry suppliers. At this point, I don't think there's a lot more that can be determined from the photos you have and the information that these good people have at their disposal. Speaking for myself, I'd ask for better photos before buying, but wouldn't buy it as labeled.

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On 7/9/2022 at 9:16 AM, Blank face said:

Your violin is a quite average Schönbach with lots of screwdriver antiquing and not remarkable in any way. „Hoflieferant“ was just title for good business relationship, but not for any special quality. He surely ha a lot of different grades to offer, some Mittenwald as we see, some Schönbach for the common people. Just the way as many merchants of the period did.

Reg. Dölling I thought of Louis D., whose labels can be found in all kinds and qualities, too. Robert might have been a relative of him delivering to the USA.

Violins labeled "Robert A Dolling" are fairly common in the USA. The first decent violin I ever owned was a Doelling so I've always just accepted them and never taken a critical look at them.  Fortunately, I have a couple on hand, and on closer inspection they are clearly Markneukirchen shop violins, made for the trade, a la Roth and Heberlein, with a definitive style of their own. It is a bit troubling that I don't find any biographical information on Robert, hence the possibility that it may be just a brand name, but there is a whole string of Doellings in the auction records and I don't find much biographical information on them either. 

 

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1 minute ago, Wood Butcher said:

Are you able to give any more information about the “maker” shops in Schönbach please?

May take a while to find it, but I clearly remember having at least one and probably more violins with maker's labels showing Schoenbach as an address. I notice town names like Klingenthal, Graslitz, Lovosice, in violins. IIRC these were early 20th C, judging by graphics and workmanship / general impression. I was a little surprised the first time, having seen numerous Klingenthal violins already, but it's kind of notable to me to see a Schoenbach maker.

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42 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

Are you able to give any more information about the “maker” shops in Schönbach please?

Sandner was one of the ones that rings a bell:

violin-schonbach.cz/en/about-us

From Corilon: 

 Schönbach and Graslitz in particular were home to only a few violin makers who were able to create an instrument and all its parts from scratch– and who could afford the time to do so. However, their works – which were often purchased anonymously – had quite good acoustic and aesthetic properties, and these old Bohemian-Saxonian instruments do not deserve the fundamental disdain they frequently are given.

The Schönbach instrument makers experienced a minor form of emancipation from the supremacy of Markneukirchen around the turn of the 20th century when they founded two production cooperatives and established their own brokers. As a result, they were able to export some 20% of their own production by themselves. Within the interlinked business structure of the region, Schönbach stood out as the key centre for trading tonewoods, some 700 train cars of which were sold each year.

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Shame about the screwdriver antiqueing.

Oh well...

The Thau milling machine was in use from 1907 in Markneukirchen and probably soon after in Schönbach. 

For the good workmanship at a low price, it seems obvious that these types of instruments were made using such a machine to carve out the bellies and backs to a regular pattern before they were finished by hand.

And if the had pretty maple and good sounding spruce, which seems to have been common to these makers, so much the better.

Shame about the screwdriver antiqueing thoough.

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31 minutes ago, Michael Richwine said:

Sandner was one of the ones that rings a bell:

violin-schonbach.cz/en/about-us

From Corilon: 

 Schönbach and Graslitz in particular were home to only a few violin makers who were able to create an instrument and all its parts from scratch– and who could afford the time to do so. However, their works – which were often purchased anonymously – had quite good acoustic and aesthetic properties, and these old Bohemian-Saxonian instruments do not deserve the fundamental disdain they frequently are given.

The Schönbach instrument makers experienced a minor form of emancipation from the supremacy of Markneukirchen around the turn of the 20th century when they founded two production cooperatives and established their own brokers. As a result, they were able to export some 20% of their own production by themselves. Within the interlinked business structure of the region, Schönbach stood out as the key centre for trading tonewoods, some 700 train cars of which were sold each year.

I would be a little careful of taking Corilon as gospel.^_^

Pre WWI Schönbach & Grazlitz firms supplied the Viennese (and Austria generally) markets directly in large quantities, one thinks of firms such as Placht, Lutz or Hüller. This would have been because Schönbach/Grazlitz etc. were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whereas Markneukirchen would have had a customs boarder for their goods to cross.

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15 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I would be a little careful of taking Corilon as gospel.^_^

Pre WWI Schönbach & Grazlitz firms supplied the Viennese (and Austria generally) markets directly in large quantities, one thinks of firms such as Placht, Lutz or Hüller. This would have been because Schönbach/Grazlitz etc. were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whereas Markneukirchen would have had a customs boarder for their goods to cross.

Noted.

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Among the tens of thousands of dutzendarbeit from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, there are indeed relatively better quality violins from Schönbach from time to time. Contemporary dealers are fond of describing them as master or semi-master instruments. However, the fact is that at the beginning of the 20th century there were no violin makers in Schönbach building violins individually. The first real master violin makers did not appear here until the 1920s (of course I'm not talking about the old violin makers of the 18th and early 19th century).

For the history of violin making in Schönbach I can recommend the representative publication "Z dějin houslařství na Chebsku / Aus der Geschichte des egerländer Geigenbaus" from 2014 (https://vufind.mzk.cz/Record/MZK01-001457382?lng=en). Unfortunately, due to the small print run, it is basically unavailable.

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12 hours ago, Fotios said:
12 hours ago, Fotios said:

For the history of violin making in Schönbach I can recommend the representative publication "Z dějin houslařství na Chebsku / Aus der Geschichte des egerländer Geigenbaus" from 2014 (https://vufind.mzk.cz/Record/MZK01-001457382?lng=en). Unfortunately, due to the small print run, it is basically unavailable.

Thanks for the advice! This was unknown to me before.

As I did several times before, for economical and historical datas I would recommend Kauert https://www.amazon.de/Reiße-Weiß-Grün-Vogtländisch-westböhmischer-Jahrhunderten-Entstehung/dp/3865300790

Corilon seems to paraphrase some of his research but cut short in a way that it is turned into the opposite, or just taken as a sort of advertising for their sales.

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