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Violin/Violin Identification/Age


I have a violin, full size, that has an"old style screen printed decal" on the back, just below where the neck joins the body. It has a green circle with gold wreath border and crown at the top, inside the circle it says; KHAGEN SARDAR (all caps and block lettering in an arch) and below the word "Ligner" (in script). This circle with wreath sits upon a gold banner and banner with two F holes below it also in gold. The  words on the banner are "CALCUTTA   700001" . All the gold mentioned is outlined in fine black, and all the lettering is black.

Being a retired master sign maker, I learned to make decals like this back in the sixties, so oddly enough I was drawn to this beautiful example.

Anyway, it has very good tone. Ebony finger board, tuning pegs, tail piece and chin rest. Looks like a carved spruce top with; 2 piece/slab cut maple back, and birds eye maple sides. Finish is by hand, and the whole instrument looks to be made by hand. Fake purfling is painted black, parallel lines. Plays well, in very good condition.

Looks like maybe a hand made intermediate maybe but sounds so good, but then I remember this $60.00 Suzuki violin that sounded better than a lot of expensive violins according to the players who owned the latter, they couldn't believe it either.

Any info on the Brand name and possible age/potential value. Is it worth getting an appraisal?

violin label
violin label  
Hi Michael

I saw one of these a number of years ago, photo of the decal is attached. They are typical low grade beginner violins made in India circa 1960-75. The workmanship is rough and the varnish is flakey. As you said, the purfling is painted on. These instruments don't have much value, often no more than $50-100 and are similar in quality to many of the low quality violins for sale today on Ebay that are Chinese made.

I wouldn't bother with an appraisal. Evan if it sounds great, the value is determined by Who made it, Where it was made, When it was made, the Condition and lastly the Sound. But as sound is subjective to the player and condition changes, only the Who, Where and When remain constant.


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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.

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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