Violin/vintage violin


I have a violin that my father came home with from france in 1918 after ww1. He didn't play the violin but was an astute buyer! I won't bother you with photos of it because they all match the ones I've researched myself. The final decision on its authenticity is the actual playing of the instrument and even that is a mystery to different ears!
The violin has a label which has aged with the wood itself and has the name of FRANCESCO RUGGERRI,etc,etc  dated 1660.The last 2 digits were inked in I appreciate any opinion you have on this

Good afternoon Robert,

I am not sure what you are asking of me. You have stated that you have already decided through comparing photographs that it looks like other authentic Ruggieri (Ruger) violins, even though photographs cannot be effectively used to definitively identify a violins maker. Sound is no identifier of authenticity at all as no two violins will have the same sound and a Ruggieri can sound great or it can sound horrible - there are very poorly sounding Strads. As far as the label goes, that description is of both real and copied labels. So much more is used to identify a makers work, the purfling style, the scroll work, the general workmanship, the outline, the "f" holes, the arching, the varnish texture, the inside construction style and more. Without seeing the instrument in person, it really is not possible to authenticate a violin. I would strongly recommend that you take the instrument to a reputable violin appraiser, as that will be your only real way of knowing. I have included a photo of a real Ruggieri from my archives just for your continued comparison. I wish you luck in further investigation of the instruments heritage.

Robert - this is a follow up based on your rating.
I really don't know what you wanted me to say, you actually didn't ask any question so I guess I should of just rejected the question all together as you only asked for an opinion. If you just wanted me to agree with your assessment that it was a real Ruggieri, that is impossible from your supplied information and so I told you want you needed to hear.  I believe I was as polite as I possibly could have been, I just couldn't provide you with the answer you wanted. Obviously the rest of my over 200 answers in this forum are more highly thought of. Sorry if I offended you in some unknown way.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

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

Past/Present Clients
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.

©2017 All rights reserved.