I have a violin that I am hoping you can help me find out more information about it. The inside of the violin seems to have two tags, I am saying two because they appear to be in different type. The first says- Fried. Aug. Glass verfertight nach Jacobus Stainer in Absam prope Oenipontum 1620.-The second says Jacobus Strainer in Absam prope Oenipontum 1936. I find it very hard to see inside, so I hope that I got the words correct. It seems to be in nice condition, but the part (bridge?) that holds the strings higher up is missing. It has the bow and a case, but the case is bad condition. Any information and possible value would be greatly appreciated. I know a value can't be established from a photo, but just a general idea would be great. Thank you so much for your time, Sue

Hi Sue

Both names have a lot of history behind them. For our purposes lets forget about the Jacobus Stainer label since it is just the model of the instrument. The instrument then is saying it was made by Fried. Aug. Glass (Friederick August Glass). There were actually 4 real makers with that name as well as many, many thousands of very low grade copies. The last of these four makers died prior to 1906, while the copies are listed in catalogs into the 1930's.  So going by the label alone, I would have to say that yours is one of these copies. I can't see the violin well enough to tell much, but it is certainly from the late 1800's to early 1900's.

In addition to the bridge, you should also change the strings, tailpiece and tailgut. The pegs may need to be adjusted or replaced and the fingerboard and nut may need some attention. The bow also looks like it needs work. Because of all of this, as well as things that I can not see in the picture, it might make it not worth repairing. The only way to know for sure is to have it seen at a violin shop where a proper evaluation can be done. As far as value goes, I can tell you that several of these copies have sold at auction in the $200-400 range.


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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.

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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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