Violin/Caszparo / Sallo


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I was wondering if you might be able to shed some light on the violin of which I have attached some photos. There is no label on the inside except the name carved on the scroll: Caszparo / Sallo. The violin has been in the family for over a hundred years and is believed to be of Czechoslovakian make.

Thanks and regards

ANSWER: Hi Chris

As you have stated, the instrument was probably made in Czechoslovakia or possibly Germany.  It would have been new around the time you got it, late 1800's to early 1900's. This is what is referred to as a "trade violin", which means it was made in a factory and sold to dealers "in the trade" of selling violins. Numerous catalogs from that period exist with these instruments pictured in drawings. They typically sold new then for around $10-20 and today are worth in the $500-2000 range depending on workmanship, wood selection, condition and sound. They were not made by Gasparo Da Salo (correct spelling) in Italy in the mid 1500's. The best thing to do is to have it evaluated in person at a violin shop where they can see it close up. These can still have a nice sound and be very serviceable as an instrument.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Blood Violin? Back
Blood Violin? Back  

Blood Violin? Front
Blood Violin? Front  

Thanks for the prompt reply. Just a follow up, living in South Africa I don't know of anyone qualified enough to give a visual appraisal, so if you do know of anyone the information would be appreciate . Would the terminology "Blood Violin" be applicable to a "trade violin"?


You will need to find a violin shop to look at it and any real violin shop, not a music store, will be able to tell you what you need to know. It is clear from the new photos that it is as I had stated, it is from the late 1800's to early 1900's German or Chech made. It looks to be in good condition so it is probably worth from around $800-1500 given what I can see.

I have never heard of the term "blood violin" as pertaining to a violin, it is urban slang for a form of suicide.  


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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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