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Violin/Francois Salzard Violin


I have a violin belonging to my great-great-grandfather (I am 47 years old). The violin is approx. 24 inches long, and 8 1/2 inches wide at the lower bout. The button reads "SALZARD", and the inside below the right F hole is a label reading "FRANCOIS SALZARD".  The scroll, pegs, and neck are in good condition with no cracks or chips. The bridge is unattached, but intact, and is stamped "ARTIST".  The finish is a reddish-brown in the center of the front and the back; it is worn to a golden honey color around the chin rest and opposite side on the front, and as evenly worn to the same color in those areas on the back, as well as the area on the left of the button on the back.  I am not able to view the sound post, and I am guessing this piece is what is rattling around on the inside of the instrument.  The bow is in excellent condition.  I am not able to find any markings on the bow.  it has long, long ago been wrapped with black tape at its base, where one holds the bow.  Do you have any idea how old this violin might be?  It is a priceless family heirloom, and could never be replaced, but can you approximate its value?


Hi Lisa

Francois Salzard (1808-1874) was a maker working in Mirecourt and Paris France in the mid 1800's, he was the son and pupil of Dominique Salzard.  There were also violins stamped Salzard that were made in the early 1900's that were commercial grade factory instruments. Assuming that it is an original Francois Salzard, in fine condition, they can be worth up to around $4000.  They are considered fairly typical Mirecourt style work. The bridge could have been made any time and most likely has no bearing on the instrument. Not having any information on the bow, it is impossible to give any feedback.  The best way is to take the instrument and bow to a violin shop or violin auction house to look at it in person, then a true and complete evaluation can be given.


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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.

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.

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