Violin/Stradivarius

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Stradivarius 1737
Stradivarius 1737  
Stradivarius 1737
Stradivarius 1737  
QUESTION: Hi David. I came across your posts for a few others inquiring if their stradivarius' were genuine and am here for the same reason. First a little background, the Stradivarius I have was my Italian Grandfather's who was a professional orchestra musician, who played for a bit in the Metropolitan Opera as well as Carnegie Hall. His main instrument was the Cello, however he also played the violin, mandolin, Ukulele, Banjo and Guitar. He came over from Italy around 1911 to Ellis Island bringing his instruments with him.  Having said that, The label inside this Stradivarius reads:  

Antonius Stradivarius Cremonenfis
Faciebat Anno 1737 (the circle with the cross and his initials as well)
Di Anni 93

I have several clear photos and will attach the most significant ones for you to have a look-see. Since I was limited to only two pics, I can tell you that the violin is and oil varnish as the neck is not finished with varnish nor is there a line where tape might've been from a mass produced violin. I would be more than happy to share more photos with you should you wish to see them, including the label inside.  

Thanks so much, really appreciate the assistance.

ANSWER: Hi MaryAnn

The violin you have is certainly nice but I am also certain it is not a Stradivari, nor Italian. It appears to have been made in the late 1800's to early 1900's probably in Germany but also possibly in France.

If you could send me close up shots of the front and side of the scroll as well as the label, that would be great. Try to make them as high resolution as possible as on the top and back photos, when I zoom in, they get fairly blurry.

Not that it would be proof that it is real, but if the 737 and the Di Anni 93 on the label are not hand written, it is certainly only a copy.

If you wish, you may send the photos to me directly to davidlashof@yahoo.com

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

QUESTION: Thank you David. I will send those additional photos to your direct email now. Both, btw, the 737 and Di Anni 93 are hand written. But I will send the pics along to you to see, as well as some additional photos I took that might help ascertain whether I own a replica or an original. Thanks so much. Check your email. :)

Answer
Hi again MaryAnn
I have done my due diligence with the additional photos by comparing them to other strads from the last few years of his life's work. As I suspected, this is a copy, it simply does not have the workmanship, varnish and wood selection that a real Strad has.  In addition, the label is a direct copy, down to the exact placing of the hand written part, from one that is printed in a catalog and can be seen on line - http://www.cello.org/heaven/hill/pix/images/label6.jpg  The original however had the Di Anni 93 printed on a separate label, yours is clearly all on one, but even the line from the secondary label has transferred.  The copy tried to hide this on the right side, by tearing off a section. The label is also not printed on "laid" paper, which would have been the case in 1737. As far as value goes, that will be difficult without a close examination in person. I will give you a range that I suspect it will fall into - $3000-6000. But someone will need to look at it more closely than I can.

As far as the bow goes, it could very well be real, since often times the bow makers were not known well enough to have earned a great deal for their work and as such, the bows were often just included with a violin.  Of course, your Grandfather could have purchased the bow separately. There are a few different bows stamped Leon Pique. Some are commercial German bows with a 'normal' size brand on the stick, usually right side up. There are other bows stamped Leon Pique which were made by Otto Hoyer c. 1920-30, with a smaller stamp on the stick. As far as value on the bow goes if it is a good one, and pictures won't help here as I am not well versed in the subtleties of the characteristics of Pique bow, they tend to auction in the $1000-1500 range and retail over $2000.  

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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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