Violin/Violin Bow

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QUESTION: I have a violin bow with the name Tourte stamped on the side of the bow beneath the frog and the initials B & G stamped on the bow close to the adjustment cap.  It has Mother of Pearl inlay on the top of the frog and the two round inlays on either side of the frog.  It is approximately 8 3/4 inches long. It is in excellent condition, except for no strings and no adjustment cap.
Does it have any value?
Best regards,
Robert

ANSWER: Hi Robert

The Tourte name has been stamped on as many bows as the name Stradivari has been inserted in violins. They typically have a fairly low value, usually under $100 and some are completely worthless. The B & G stamp was probably a dealer who sold the bow, there was a B&G violin case company. I am not familiar with that stamp on bows, but it is not associated with any real Tourte bow. Most Tourte bows were unstamped or depending on the maker (there were 4) had a first initial with the last name.  I assume you meant 28 3/4" not 8 3/4". A standard full size bow is around 28 3/4", an 8" bow is not usable. They only way to know what quality it is, would be to take it to a violin shop for an evaluation, the stamped name means little.  Since it needs to be repaired anyway, it will need to go to the violin shop for that, so they can tell you what the repaired value would be.

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

QUESTION: Thank you Mr. Lashof for your prompt reply.  There were a couple of corrections I did not catch.  The bow is 28 3/4 inches long and the initials stamped are B & J on the bow.  Also on the bow in front of the
frog is an x1111 that appears to be cut into the bow and not stamped.  It is only visible if the frog is removed.

Best regards,
Robert

Answer
Robert

Buegeleisen & Jacobson (B & J) was a well known importer of mostly German factory string instruments and bows from the early 1900's. In a 1912 catalog of theirs, there are 5 different Tourte model bows that sold for $1.00-$15.00. The other markings on the bow were to keep the parts straight. In the factory setting, a bow maker would be working on multiple bows and the marks on the stick would typically match marks on the underside of the frog.

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David Lashof

Expertise

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.

Organizations
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.

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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