Violin/violin

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QUESTION: Hi
Have this violin with the following information

mcolo amadi of cremona Italy, cremonen ais , fac iebat anro17
it also has a circle with a x above it and another circle with ac
inside it.

Got the original case and it has swastikas embroied inside

Can you give me some information on this and what it may be worth

I realize need to go to a shop for appraisal, just a ball park amount

Thank You

ANSWER: Bill

This is a copy of a Nicolo Amati violin. He never learned English, so there would not be the words Cremona or Italy on the label, he also never wrote the country, only the city.  The country of origin was a requirement after 1891. At that point it had to have the country, then in 1914 the country had to be in English, then in 1921 the words "Made in" also needed to accompany the English spelling of the country of origin. So, because your instrument says "Italy", but not "Made in", that would mean it was made between 1914 and 1921. Assuming the case is original, that would probably make the instrument also made in Germany, but not necessarily.  A lot of instruments were made in France or Czechoslovakia, brought into Germany and then exported from there.  A violin shop should be able to pin that down. As far as value, these copies are usually worth anywhere from near nothing to around $2000.  On rare occasions they could be worth a little more, but that usually comes from knowing the actual factory from where the instrument was made.

BTW, the label on a real Amati should read
Nicolaus Amatus Cremonen
Fecit An XXXX

He never had any symbols on his labels, so that must be from the factory, but I am not familiar with it. If you can take a picture of the label, it might ring a bell.

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

QUESTION: Here is some additional information that was found on this violin
it had on the inside
facebat anno17
stdinarins antonins
cremonedis
unfortunately I dont have this violin here and am getting the information
from my uncle who is in southern Ontario

Thanks for the really quick replies

Answer
Bill

I am a bit confused.  You first said that the label said that it was a Nicolo Amati and now you are saying it is an Antonio Stradivari, those are two very different makers although the information about the copies of one, holds for the copies of the other.  The exact wording, spelling and layout of a label is important as it can have clues. At this point I think you should just wait until you can take it to a violin shop unless you can take a picture of the label to send to me. So much of what you have typed has typographical errors at least as to what a real one would say and since as you say, you are getting the information second hand, it is kind of a waste of time just to be guessing. Stradivari did use a symbol on his labels and you will see this on my web site at - http://violininformation.webs.com/identifyinginstruments.htm

I would certainly be glad to look at quality pictures of the instrument and the label to help with the identification. See http://violininformation.webs.com/contactme.htm for information regarding sending me photos and you can send them directly to the email address on that page. BTW, this web site of mine has lots of information about violin authentication, trade (copies) instruments from the early 1900's and lots more.  

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David Lashof

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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.)

Experience

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.

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

Education/Credentials
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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