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Violin/Information on violin maker

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Question
My wife purchased a used violin in the 1950s. It has remained unplayed for decades and we are thinking of selling it. Can you tell us anything about the maker and when this violin might have been made? Following is the information on the label inside the violin:

Joh. Bapt. Schweitzer
fecit at forman
Heironym Amati Pestini 1813
Made in Germany

Thank you.

Answer
Hi Joseph,

Thank you for your question.  What you have is a German factory instrument.  I'm afraid that this violin was not made by Schweitzer.  It was common practice to use the name of famous makers in factory instruments, to identify different lines of products, and Schweitzer's work was very influential in Germany.  But, Schweitzer himself lived and died in Budapest.  A genuine Schweitzer label would say "In Pesth", referring to the part of Budapest where he worked.  

Still, some factory instruments of this type fetch a good price at auction, so it's certainly worth getting it appraised.  (Though, you should prepare yourself for the possibility that it is not even worth the cost of new strings.)  It may be worth nothing.  On the other hand, it could be worth several thousand dollars.  

The only way to really find out is to take it to a skilled and experienced instrument appraiser.  If you have a violin shop in your town, you might start there.  If they think it's worth pursuing, then you could seek out someone who could give you a more skilled and accurate appraisal.  There are many fine violin shops in New York and elsewhere who could help you.  (Be sure to call ahead and make an appointment.) Or, you could try one of the auction houses like Tarisio.

Best of luck with your instrument.  At the very least you have a nice heirloom.  And, if it has a nice tone (which older instruments often do), perhaps someone in the family mike like to play it.

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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