Hi my mom was handed down to her a violin from her grandfather she said he played in some symphony.My mom is 75 The violin on the inside has 2 stickers in it.I was wondering if it has any value to it? It also has some labels in it and a small silver container that has something like wax in it (leon beknardel) and a bottle of some sort of powder (djer-kiss) from London and some sort of thing that kinda looks like a bullet,mom thinks it has a whistle in it? The bridge fell off the violin and was wondering where I could purchase one? It also has a case in alligator hide that was her aunts.

#1 Andreas Guarnerius fecit cremone
  fub titulo sanctae terefia 1663

#2 Restored--1919
  F.E. Coulter
  Portland Oregon

Hi Joyce
Without at least seeing a picture of the instrument I can't tell if it is as labeled or more likely one of the hundreds of thousands with a copy of the label. Most of these copies were made between 1870 and 1930. They can still have some value and you should have the instrument looked at in person to be sure. Also, bridges need to be cut and fit to the instrument as they come in blank form and inserting one without a proper fit can seriously damage the violin. The "whistle" is a pitch pipe to help tune the instrument. The "wax" is rosin and that is put on the bow hair, but it should not be used as it is old. The powder could also be rosin, and that should also not be used.

I would take it to a violin shop for an evaluation of value and also to see what it would cost to put it in playing condition. If it has been sitting for some time, it is likely that it needs some gluing and should not be tuned up until it is repaired. It would also need new strings and most likely new hair on the bow.

The second label is just when that person repaired it and has no bearing on who made the instrument. Even with the history you know of the violin, it could still have been made in the late 1800's and fit that time table.  


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David Lashof


I can answer questions on violin, viola, cello and bass making, repair and maintenance as well as supply general violin value ranges and information on instrument makers’ assuming the instrument's as labeled. I don't give values for modern makers as many of these modern makers are yet unknown to me. I can only give you feedback based on what information you give me, and no authority on the instrument can know every maker's work that ever lived. I have access to many books on makers and auction prices on over 25,000 makers, as well as having 36 years of experience with selling and appraising violins. Without having the instrument in hand, any estimate over the internet is just a guess as the label inside an instrument is more often wrong than right, so just having that information is not very useful. Pictures can sometimes be helpful but only so much, as the "feel" of the instrument along with small clues in workmanship and varnish cannot be seen in pictures. Any pictures should be high quality close-ups of the top and back. Additional photos of the front and treble side of the neck are also useful. It is always best to have an instrument seen in person at a violin shop that does appraisals. I can also provide advice on bows, rosin, strings and other string instrument accessories. As I am now retired, I have no bias towards selling anything; I only wish to share my knowledge and experience by providing information for those that may be getting confused by misinformation, misdirection or conflicting statements. (While I have seen many thousands of instruments and have performed numerous appraisals; if I have not evaluated an instrument in person, any information I set forth in an opinion is just that, an opinion based solely on what you have provided. Thusly, no financial decision should be based on that opinion, but rather, further investigation should be performed by having the instrument examined in person.)


I am a retired violin maker and repairman with 35 years experience having worked in Chicago and Maryland at 5 different violin shops and music stores including the first violin repairman at William Harris Lee in Chicago, the head repairman at Weavers Violins in Maryland, and in my own shop of 25 years. I have made 160 instruments and have restored countless professional level and student grade instruments. I am an accomplished violinist having performed with semi-professional as well as amateur groups although I haven't played for years and mostly stay away from questions about playing. I have taught violin making and restoration to about 20 students; three of which have gone on professionally and now have their own shops. I know violins from playing, selling, repairing, making and teaching.

Violin Society of America (VSA). American String Teachers Association (ASTA)

I graduated from the prestigious 4 year Chicago School of Violin Making in 1981 under Master Violin Maker Tschu Ho Lee. I also studied with violin maker Willis M. Gault in Washington DC from 1973-75, who was the former owner of the oldest known example of an instrument from the modern violin family, an Andreas Amati Viola.

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2008 Chester Petranek Award for service to the music community. ASTA award for service. Top All Expert in Violin for 2014 and 2015.

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I have worked with many professional musicians from DC area Symphonies as well as players from all over the US. Here are just a few, Leonard Slatkin - Former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra. Doris Gazda - Nationally renowned string specialist and composer. Bernard Greenhouse, Tanya Anisimova - Internationally renowned Solo Cellists. Jody Gatwood, Mark Pfannschmidt, Lori Barnet, Doug Dubé, Judy Silverman - National Philharmonic Orchestra. Robert Blatt, David Hardy, Glen Garlick - National Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Stubbs, Brendan Mulvahill, Nate Leath - Professional Fiddle Players. David Basche, Pat Braunlich, John Knudson, Romano Solano, Ed Ferris, Fred Lieder - freelance musicians.

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