Violin/Violin Information


violin 2
violin 2  
QUESTION: I have a violin/fiddle that was purchased used around 1925 and played by my stepdad.  There is a label within that reads: Johann Ulrich Fichtl, in Mittenvvald, An. 1763

The violin is approximately 24"long.

There are three bows with it.

Please see images below.

I would like to know what the approximate value is of both the violin and bows.

Fichtl label
Fichtl label  

Unfortunately, based on what I can see, what you have is almost certainly a violin made in the late 1800's with a facsimile label of a Fichtl.  That specific year's label is in a reference book and has been widely copied, violins like it sell in the $150-500 on Ebay.  I'm sure that a close up examination would confirm this as the varnish is not the same as a real Fichtl. A close up of the neck might also be able to be used to confirm this if I can see it clearly.

As far as the bows go, with no information other than that you have three bows, the best that I could say is, from nothing to a few thousand.  Occasionally with instruments that were made around 1900, bows by makers that became collectable were included with them.  Again many copies were made and just having the name of one of these makers stamped on the stick does not mean it was made by them.

The best way to find out specifics about your instrument and bow is to have it seen by a professional where an in person evaluation can be obtained.

I have attached a copy of what a Fichtl label looks like, but as I said, copies of these are available, so the kind of paper that it is on needs to be looked at. Old labels, pre 1850, are printed with a block and on laid paper, a professional can easily distinguish between this and a more modern printed label.

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

Bow tips
Bow tips  

Bow tips 2
Bow tips 2  
QUESTION: Sending pictures of the three bows for better information.  It would be nice if more that two images could be uploaded at a time.

Thanks, Ray

Hi again Ray

Bows are very hard to see in photos. I can't tell from the photos what kind of metal they are mounted with, and that can be key to them being student or professional grade. As a am unclear of the quality, you should have them seen in person.


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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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