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Violin/neuner & hornsteiner age and value


The label in my N&H violin is identical to the one from your collection which you posted in a reply on 06/07/12. Your label appears to have 1908 handwritten over the 18. Mine just has the printed 18. If anything was ever handwritten on mine, it has totally faded away.

I know that this was a used instrument when my great-uncle got it sometime prior to 1920. The body is app. 23.5" long, 8.25" wide and 1.375" deep. The color is honey brown.

I have had a luthier replace the tailpiece, tuners and bridge and install new strings and fine tuners. He also repaired a 2" crack in the top at the f-hole under the E string and reglued the back where it was loose.

Can you tell me when it was made and what it's worth?

Thank you.


Unfortunately no one will be able to answer your question without seeing the instrument.  Labels are easily faked and only take seconds to insert in an instrument. With that said, there are real N&H instruments and there are workshop ones. The label in yours is not of the style of the best maker - Ludwig Neuner.  The N&H company made instruments from 1750-1970.  The measurements and color are not really any help since that describes probably 1/4 of all violins made in the late 1800's - early 1900's.  N&H violins varied in color from the greenish through the yellow browns into the reddish.

Based on auction results over the last few years, the very best of the N&H violins have auctioned in the $5000 range, while most are under $1000. You really need to take it back to your luthier to have them look at in in person to determine its age and if it is a master or workshop instrument. They will also look at things like the condition, not just the playing condition but also past repairs and any current damage. The cleaner the example the higher the price within its specific value range. They may not be able to tell which maker for certain made it, but with the best of the family makers, the price range is not all that wide and as such the determination of value will be based more on wood selection, workmanship, condition and sound.

My suspicion, since you mention that yours is labeled like my example from a 2012 answer, is that yours is a commercial version from the late 1800's and is probably worth somewhere in the $750-1500 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.

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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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