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Help id this violin?


dred pirate

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This is my first post here so if it should be moved, please let me know. I will preface this with saying I have VERY little knowledge in this area, but have become fascinated by what I have learned.  
 

I have a violin that was my mother in law who passed away 30 years ago. She was born in 1939 and probably got this as a teenager when living in the NYC area. We took it to a local dealer / refurbished who quoted $3k to refurbish and said it might be worth $8k when done. (But didn’t make an offer- so I take that with a grain of salt). He also said he couldn’t determine the origin, but “something is interesting about it”

 

I put it on Facebook marketplace and was flooded with interest (I listed it really cheap) many people said it was likely a German replica from the 1930’s to 50’s. Another person saw the label on the case and suggested a E John Albert or family   The mark on the inside (not a tag but a sort of brand) states “Dominico Luigi Venezia 1861”. Which I understand is very likely to be fake/misleading. 
 

I also have read the Albert’s did import Colin’s and finish them in Philly. So maybe?  
 

anyway. One guy got really pushy with me trying to rush me into a sale, and when I just told him I sold elsewhere accused me of “milking the deal” and “you just sold a $20,000 violin for a penny”. Now he seemed slightly unstable and ironically another person 3 states away earned me about him before he even messaged me. 
 

I am under no illusion that I am sitting on some gold mine, but due to the sentimental value to my wife, we want to make sure it goes to someone that will appreciate it and play it, but also don’t want to be the guy who is on the wrong side of some thrift shop find. 
 

any thought or ideas to what I actually have here since anyone who would know is king gone from this earth.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by dred pirate
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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, iNeedAnswers said:

My suggestion in this order:

1. Put a cloth between the tailpiece and the violin top

2. Look at the pinned thread on how to photograph violins for them to be ided. 

 

thanks - just saw that post now - I will read and updated photos 

is the cloth just to protect from scratching I assume.

 

 

PS - just got off the phone with a local guy (not a shop owner, just an enthusiast) - who said the bow might actually be relatively valuable - will post pics of it as well- only marking is Adolph Berger

Edited by dred pirate
Updated with pics on first post
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Funny that we are seeing the second time within a week now a nice French violin from the 19th century Caussin shop. The particular refined style of antiquing and the nice scroll make them easily to distinguish from the much more crude later German attempts, also the constructional features. Maybe the “pushy” guy wasn’t that misguided, though a bit exaggerating.

The bow is a German trade bow with a dealer’s brand and came later to the instrument.

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I am not as skilled as @Blank faceto put it into France that clearly, but definitely a nice instrument with a not irrelevant value.

And yes, the cloth to protect from scratching. The fine-tuners can leave nasty dents otherwise.

One mostly irrelevant trivia: it looks like this violin was played by someone with small hands. I mentioned the resulting wear of top plates next to the finger board in another thread, this violin here is a good example for that.

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7 hours ago, iNeedAnswers said:

it looks like this violin was played by someone with small hands. I mentioned the resulting wear of top plates next to the finger board

I would rather say that this "wear" is part of the antiquing.:)

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23 hours ago, Blank face said:

Funny that we are seeing the second time within a week now a nice French violin from the 19th century Caussin shop. The particular refined style of antiquing and the nice scroll make them easily to distinguish from the much more crude later German attempts, also the constructional features. Maybe the “pushy” guy wasn’t that misguided, though a bit exaggerating.

The bow is a German trade bow with a dealer’s brand and came later to the instrument.

thanks for everybody's input - feel free to flame me - but I am obviously have VERY little knowledge in this area.

I am curious what about it makes you say it is of French origin?  Not that I doubt you - but people looking at pictures (less detailed than what I posted here) all say German - but most of those were potential buyers who have a motive to make it appear less valuable,  I have decided to hold off on selling until 1. I have an expert weight in who can give me definitive info or 2. I get "an offer I can't refuse" so to speak haha

 

It also has Italian wording on the insider, which (to me) wouldn't make sense if it is French? But again I don't know this world.  I did get some info from a board member here on places that might be able to help.

Honestly at this point the mystery has gotten me more interested than any actually $$ amount.

Of note  - about the small hands - maybe inconsequential clue- I asked my wife if her mom had small hands - her response "I don't think so?"  I never met her, but she wasn't some super petite lady - so maybe that leads credence to there being a previous owner, this pushing back the date of it (she probably got it late 1940's to early 50's

 

thanks all,

 

I am open to any resources to reach out to that could

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14 hours ago, dred pirate said:

It also has Italian wording on the insider, which (to me) wouldn't make sense if it is French? But again I don't know this world.  I did get some info from a board member here on places that might be able to help.

I tried to describe above in detail why it looks French to me and not German. Italian wording at a brand or a label doesn’t mean much, what should be common knowledge.

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16 hours ago, dred pirate said:

Of note  - about the small hands - maybe inconsequential clue- I asked my wife if her mom had small hands - her response "I don't think so?"  I never met her, but she wasn't some super petite lady - so maybe that leads credence to there being a previous owner, this pushing back the date of it (she probably got it late 1940's to early 50's

After looking at it again, I think Blank face is right and it is not wear but part of the artificial antiquing. 
As a student I did own a violin with genuine wear in this area, it was owned by a Gypsi before. I think I even have an image around. I regret selling this violin. It was a very simple Schönbach, but it was a great player for its origin. 

 

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2 hours ago, Blank face said:

I tried to describe above in detail why it looks French to me and not German. Italian wording at a brand or a label doesn’t mean much, what should be common knowledge.

Apologies of this is a double post.  I was just curious if there was some very specific marking that leads you to believe French (again. Not doubting you, just trying to learn). I am aware the brands and labels don’t mean that much, was aware of German’s putting Italian or French names, but. Or French using Italian names. 
 

I was offered $500 but at this point I am enjoying the mystery and trying to find out more and appreciate everyone’s insights.  I have some contacts and hope to get in their hands to give more thoughts.  

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1 hour ago, dred pirate said:

I was just curious if there was some very specific marking that leads you to believe French (again. Not doubting you, just trying to learn). I am aware the brands and labels don’t mean that much, was aware of German’s putting Italian or French names, but. Or French using Italian names. 

I'm afraid there is no "very specific marking", it's very much a matter of acquiring "the eye". Can you describe the audible distinction between Mozart and Haydn?

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1 hour ago, dred pirate said:

some very specific marking that leads you to believe French

Specific markings are, as noted before, the style of the antiquing, which is much more refined than the German "screwdriver antiquing" and made different. The scroll has a relative long straight pegbox with short and narrow throat, the volute deeply fluted, as it seems "to the bitter end". The rib joints appear to be mitred, shorter than the plate edges, what all points to a French outside mould construction in opposite to the Markneukirchen/Schönbach building without a mould.

There are some other features like outline, varnish texture etc. which can be more described as "I've seen it often enough before".

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Dang it, $1150. That's the best I can do. I am taking all the risk here, and I got to make money from it too. Also let me ask a buddy of mine to have a look at it, he has a shop right around the corner. 

To stay a bit more serious, the $500 offer would be too low, even if it needed repairs. However, I have no idea how much it would actually be worth. Gut tells me something around 5k in good condition, but that could be completely wrong.

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58 minutes ago, iNeedAnswers said:

However, I have no idea how much it would actually be worth. Gut tells me something around 5k in good condition, but that could be completely wrong.

You can hardly specify a value for something in unknown condition, whith an obviously bad setup. You would also need a certificate by one of the respected experts in the particular field for anything of a significant value.

OTOH it is today not difficult to find offerings from serious retail shops as well as auction results and estimates for instruments by a known maker, which comply with the necessary requirements.

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1 hour ago, iNeedAnswers said:

Dang it, $1150. That's the best I can do. I am taking all the risk here, and I got to make money from it too. Also let me ask a buddy of mine to have a look at it, he has a shop right around the corner. 

To stay a bit more serious, the $500 offer would be too low, even if it needed repairs. However, I have no idea how much it would actually be worth. Gut tells me something around 5k in good condition, but that could be completely wrong.

It depends on who is buying I guess.  I'll throw trivial money at junk, for fun to experiment with.  Collectors have their own thing going on, more power to them and their fancy billion dollar Italian artwork.  Over $1000, I care about tone and response and volume only.  That's what I pay money for, and I don't care if it was made out of used garbage bags by starving Ethiopian children, as long as it doesn't smell too bad while sounding good.

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9 hours ago, Blank face said:

You can hardly specify a value for something in unknown condition, whith an obviously bad setup. You would also need a certificate by one of the respected experts in the particular field for anything of a significant value.

OTOH it is today not difficult to find offerings from serious retail shops as well as auction results and estimates for instruments by a known maker, which comply with the necessary requirements.

As I said, in good condition. For violins 5k is nothing where I usually see people bothering with certificates. Being made nicely and not from Germany usually is enough to be put at that price, at least in shops, private sales of course are always a bit different as well. Everything else, known maker and certificate, good sound, response, etc, more likely adds bonus money.

I would not blind drop 5k (also I don't know what needs to be repaired, from the images alone) because at this point I would also want to try it as an instrument and it really is just a wild guess anyway. I just havent seen them in shops cheaper than that really. Then again, I wouldn't buy 95% of the violins I try anyway. I tried 6 figure violins I wouldn't pay 5k for, from a players perspective.

 

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1 hour ago, iNeedAnswers said:

I just havent seen them in shops cheaper than that really. Then again, I wouldn't buy 95% of the violins I try anyway. I tried 6 figure violins I wouldn't pay 5k for, from a players perspective.

This is a "retail shops only" point of view and describes exactly the problems of giving a value. I would say that the biggest part of old violins aren't sold this way and someone coming here won't have a big chance for this, but more likely selling at an auction or privately, to a restorer or dealer and so on. A sales value very very far below 5K is there in reality the rule rather than the exception.

After having read here for several years it seems also true that "being German", which also includes Bohemian or Austrian, is in America actually the qualification to sell stuff for a 5 figure sum, obviously the opposite of what you're describing.

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Well, yes I absolutely agree with that, violins often have a "paper value", which is not what the owner could sell it for. I wasn't aware that in the US German violins are more valuable. In central Europe it is hard to fetch 5 figure sums, even for very nice old master violins from Germany, minus some very few makers. 

Contemporary instruments are a different story anyway. I own a baroque violin made by Hamm. If the same violin would habe been made elsewhere, it would be worth significantly more, for example.

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