Sadly, this iPhone app for instantly discovering the age of a violin by visual analysis of the wood was an April Fool, but the principle of Dendrochronology is sound. Specialists use dendrochronology to find out the when the wood used in an instrument was grown. The history of a tree can be read in its rings, as year by year they reflect the climatic conditions. In a good year the tree will grow healthily and there will be a wide ring, in a colder or unusually dry year the ring will be narrower. Trees of the same species growing in similar areas all have the exact same pattern. Precise measurements and computer analysis mean that the patterns in the spruce on the table of a violin of unknown age can now be compared with data from a wide range of other instruments. If you want a dendrochronological analysis to find out how old your violin is, contact Peter Ratcliff. Cello bows.
The value of antique violins is based on specific factors and the prices for authentic antiques are in the millions. Since these antiques are steadily decreasing in number on the open market, the value will only continue to appreciate. Antique violins have an aura of romantic mystique, however, there are some conflicting opinions on the subject of sound.
Old German violin, probably by C.A. Wunderlich, oil varnished these attractive full size violins feature a wide range of different characteristics and date back to.
When my father failed to survive heart surgery in , he left me with several questions to solve. One of the biggest surprises, when I reluctantly had to dismantle his workshop, was the immense number of boxes of old bows I found, some even serving as an integral part of the workshop furniture.
Don’t be fiddled by the label inside a violin
An original label in a violin by Peter Guarneri of Venice , showing the paper’s “laid lines. How can you tell if the label in your violin is original? This is an important question in the evaluation of a violin from the 18th or 19th century. In addition to my day-to-day work with fine instruments, the experience of working in an auction house for twelve years has enabled me to observe thousands of antiques.
I find myself drawing on all of this knowledge in a violin appraisal. Labels on classical instruments from before around were mostly made of laid paper.
The violin, viola, and cello were first made in the early 16th century, in Italy. The earliest The oldest confirmed surviving violin, dated inside, is the “Charles IX” by Andrea The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an Amati violin that may be even older, possibly dating to but just like the Charles IX the date is unconfirmed.
The piece of paper stuck inside your violin, viola or cello may not be a very reliable guide to the instrument’s age, maker or country of origin. It happens in violin shops all around the world every day. A customer phones or emails to enquire about an instrument that has been in the family for generations. They know it is very old and it has a label that says “Antonio Stradivarius, Cremona, ” or Guarnerius, or Amati, or Maggini, or any other impressive name from the history of violin making.
What is it worth and what should they do with it? The initial response will always be: “I need to see it”. It is totally impossible to give any advice, valuations or repair quotes over the phone, and virtually impossible by e-mail. Once it is in their hands, most violin makers or dealers who are assessing an instrument will have a standard routine – they may look at the scroll side view then front , examine the f-holes and purfling, hold the instrument at arm’s length to look at the outline, then turn it sideways to check on the arching shape, and so on.
The order may vary, but one of the last things they will do is look at the label. This is because the labelling on a large number of violins, violas and cellos is often inaccurate, misleading, doubtful or just completely false. The history of mislabelling instruments goes back a long way. In the Duke of Modena was petitioned by a citizen who purchased a Nicolo Amati violin, only to find that the label was false and had been stuck over that of a lesser maker: Francesco Ruggieri.
Value of Antique Violins
Store Hours By Appointment Only. We frequently receive phone calls about “old” modern violins. It’s understandable. To most people, anything over 5 years is old – cars, television, and grandma. So of course a violin that is 50 or years old seems very old.
At least one Antonio Stradivari label, dated , reads, Alumnus Nicolais Amati – student of Nicolò Amati. This violin is known as the Amati Alard, made by.
Every week I find myself working with clients with the hope that they have found a genuine Stradivarius violin. They seek my expert advice, and ask me to help them understand what they have really found in their attic. For any experienced violin maker or restorer it takes one second to know a real Stradivarius from an average copy. And as you can imagine it would not be written in German or English.
The label in these student instruments typically print the first two digits and the last two digits were hand written. Many other important and obscure Italian names were also used on labels by factories, workshops and dealers of instruments: Amati, Guarneri, Gagliano, Ruggieri and many others. One should also give attention to the font. It is likely the font is fairly modern — a font unknown in the 18 th century. However, even decent copies of Stradivarius could be worth serious money.
So, never throw away any instrument.
Hangout Network Help
If you come across a violin and don’t have any way of knowing where it came from, you might wonder if it is an antique. Most often, when given a violin, the giver will tell you about the violin’s origin, age, and condition. Although the odds are low, you might find a mysterious violin say, in your grandmother’s attic that looks old enough to be antique.
Dating Old Violins · Curator’s Corner. History Perfected in the very late 17th century, the violin is the most ubiquitous antique object form in our daily lives. It is the.
Knowing who made your violin is one of the most important clues to its value. Unfortunately for most instruments you might need the help of an expert, such as our team of specialists at Amati. However, here is a quick run down of what you might be able to do at home. The label might tell you who made your violin. You can find a label inside the usually left hand f-hole in the violin.
Not all violins have labels, and you may have to blow away the dust and move the violin under the light to see whether yours does. Many labels are fake, but even fake labels might give an idea of who made the violin. If a past owner was a professional musician, it is quite possible that the instrument is a good one.
However, stories about being sold a violin by a musician during the Depression and others similar do not help much. The bottom line is whether the person who originally purchased the violin had both the money and the knowledge to buy well. Some of the best violins come with certificates that tell you who made your violin, these are sold with the violin by the dealer or shop that originally brokered the deal.
What’s in a violin label
Highly Flamed Wood 2. Label 3. Craftsmanship 4.
They know it is very old and it has a label that says “Antonio Stradivarius, old, so it is natural to think that an old battered violin dated is probably genuine.
Back: in two-pieces of maple of excellent quality with somewhat irregular flame of medium width descending from the center joint to the edges. Top: in two pieces of spruce with grain of narrow width in the center, opening somewhat on the flanks. There are 11 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information. Cozio holds copies of many certificates and other documents, some of which are available to view on request. Please contact us if you wish to view a particular document.
Inquiry on “Stradivarius”
Dendrochronology, which may be defined as the dating of the year-rings of wood, has only recently been employed in the dating of violins. In , Lottermoser and Meyer attempted a relative dating of Italian stringed instruments by comparing the year-ring patterns of three violins, though actual dating was not achieved until the s by Corona, Schweingruber, and Klein . I met Dr.
Visiting musicians can expect to find French and German violins dating from the 19th century and sometimes earlier. These instruments are in excellent condition,.
Just the other day another Strings reader wrote inquiring about the value and authenticity of his violin. Even if the little tag inside your instrument is original, the information printed on it might be accurate but obscure, genuine but inaccurate, misleading, or downright false. A cursory investigation of the aforementioned Rocca label provides an illustration.
Using a few key words to search the Internet turned up several instruments bearing the same label. Among them, a genuine Joseph Rocca, certified by a famous dealer and sold by a reputable auction house. A second violin bearing the same label was made by John Lott, perhaps the best of the English makers. Whether or not to call them forgeries, rather than copies, is debatable, as forgery implies intent to deceive.
It was all over New York and had several attributions to Enrico Rocca Genoa , some from good people, to which I have no comment. In the end, it had just enough quality going for it that it sold to a dealer on spec that it was Enrico. As this one example illustrates, labels are hardly a reliable guide to identifying an instrument.
Captain Fiddle Music. Ryan and Brennish. How much is my old violin.
A world record auction price for a violin was set at Christie’s in London last month. The Stradivarius dated fetched £, But how much is that fiddle.
Often a disciple placed a facsimile label in his violin to acknowledge or honor the master whose model had inspired his work. Also, commercially made instruments often bear facsimile labels to identify the model of the product. Copies made after may also have a country of origin printed in English at the bottom of the label, such as “Made in Czechoslovakia”, or simply “Germany”. Such identification was required by United States regulations on imported goods.
The presence of a label with a famous maker name or date has no bearing on whether the instrument is genuine. Thousands upon thousands of violins were made in the 19th century as inexpensive copies of the products of great masters of the 17th and 18th centuries. At that time, the purchaser knew he was buying an inexpensive violin and accepted the label as a reference to its derivation. As people rediscover these instruments today, the knowledge of where they came from is lost, and the labels can be misleading.
A violin’s authenticity i. This expertise is gained through examination of hundreds or even thousands of instruments, and there is no substitute for an experienced eye. The Smithsonian, as a matter of legal and ethical policy, does not determine the monetary value of musical instruments. For such an appraisal, we recommend that you have your instrument examined by a reliable violin dealer in your area.