Violin/Nicolaus Amatus

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Dear Mr. Fisher,

My grand father was a Violin adicted, he left us 5 violins, 1 of this violins is a Nicolaus Amatus (Cremone 1651). My grand father was a great trader and Violin expert, he told to my father that was only 3 pieces of that violin in the world. Also, he restored the violin 30 years go, which makes looks a new item.

By now, with internet help, we can realize that there is many copies out there in the market. But, until now I didnt find anything which says its fake, poor copy or good copy.

Can you help with this matter, please kindly check attached pictures. If you need more pictures pls let me know.

Thank you,
Carlos

Answer
Hi Carlos,

Thanks for your question.  You are very fortunate to have inherited so many instruments.  And, if your grandfather was skilled in violin craft, then I imagine that they are all of a certain quality and worth having.  

As you have already pointed out, this is not a genuine Amati.  But, whether it is a fine copy or a cheap factory instrument is hard to say from a photo.  In passing, I'll just mention that the label is probably lot fraudulent, but simply meant to convey that this is a copy of Amati's work.  I do see that the grain is quite uneven, indicating a relatively poor quality of wood.  But, that is only one indication of many.  I would strongly advise you to make an appointment with a local violin shop of good quality.  Or, travel to a city where one can be found.  After inspecting the instrument in person, a skilled luthier should be able to give you a better idea of the instrument's history and value.  

There have been many very good copies made around the world of Amati's instruments - in France, Italy, etc., and many of these can bring a good price at auction.  So, it's certainly worth looking into.  If you don't have a local shop that you trust, you might try contacting one of the major auction houses, such as Skinners - http://www.skinnerinc.com/ - to see if they will do an initial appraisal by phone/email.

At the very least, you have a wonderful keepsake to remind you of your grandfather.  And, perhaps, if you or anyone in your family is a violinist, a fine old violin with which you can enjoy making music.  

Best of luck to you with your violins!

Best Regards,
Jim Fisher

Violin

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James S. Fisher

Expertise

Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.

Experience

I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins, www.fisherviolins.com.

Organizations
NAAM, ASTA

Education/Credentials
I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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