Violin/violin

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Mr. Lashof  
What time period would the Faciebat anno 1722 label with a "v" in Stradivari and a "s" instead of "f" in the word Cremonensis be from. I found another website with the same label but it was in a different language I couldn't make sense of.  The label is from another garage sale violin.  I can't find a country of origin either.  The varnish/color pattern has a golden color in the upper/lower bout corner areas with red/brown throughout the c-bout and f hole areas. {sunburst} Sorta like the Knillings that are around present day. I hope that helps. 10-11 grain lines per inch on the belly and flamed back and sides.  The word German is stamped below the endpin and the chinrest metal is copper or brass and stamped Made in Germany. Could this be pre 1891 if no country is written inside?  Thank you.

P.S. - It's a basket case but still playable.

Answer
Hi Duke

This problem sometimes comes with identifying exact age because some imports used a secondary "Made in" label that could have been removed. Since the violin itself is stamped "Germany" it is probably post 1921 but could be as early as 1914, unfortunately the label spelling doesn't help as they were used for a long period. The import law didn't require the country of origin to be on a label inside the instrument, but it couldn't be just a loose tag hanging on the instrument. The varnish/wood grain won't help but the woodworking might. One issue with instruments marked with Germany, is that they may have been made in Czechoslovakia and walked across the border. With the rise of the German war machine, many makers fled across the border but still made instruments. The chin rest of course is removable but it could have been plated and the plating could have worn off. It also may not have been made to be exported to the US and as such doesn't fall completely within the McKinley Tariff Act rules.  

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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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