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Violin/origin of violin from childhood


In 1965 when I was 8 years old my parents bought me a violin from a shop in Lexington, MA. The only markings on it are Kronotone Germany on the tailpiece and inside #1 4/4 HAUFER in blue ink. It's in near new condition as I was a terrible student and hardly practiced, and it's lived in its case in closets all these years. I googled HAUFER and was unable to find anything. A decade ago I brought it to a local violin dealer who get rather excited about it and tried to buy it from me but something about him put me off so I kept it. Moving out of my home I just re-discovered it. Any ideas of the origin and quality of this instrument? It's quite beautiful and has a rich sound. I'm thinking to make a gift of it to a friend's daughter. Thanks.

Hi Eric,

I'm afraid I can't tell you much without some more to go on.  I'm not familiar with the Haufer name.  Given the "#1" and the "4/4" in the label, and the Kronotone tailpiece, I'm guessing that this was a student model factory instrument, probably imported from Germany for re-sale in the U.S.  Some such factory instruments of that time were quite nice and sell now for up to $1,500.00 or even $2,000.00.  But, as with violins today, there were a wide range of instruments made in different qualities and at different prices.  So, there's a good chance that this particular one will be worth less.  The average factory import violin from that time, in good condition, probably sells now for around $500.00  Many are not worth anything.  But, if it was a decent instrument when it was made, it may sound considerably better now that the wood has aged.

It sounds like it is in good condition, which is a plus.  If it has not been left in the hot attic or left molding in a basement, then it may not need much in terms of repair before selling.  However, it will almost certainly need new strings ($10 - $150), and the bow will almost certainly need new hair ($50-$100).  And, it would not be uncommon for it to need some seams re-glued, or other minor repairs.

I'd recommend taking it to a reputable violin shop in your area (not a general music store) for an appraisal and evaluation of condition.  If the instrument warrants it, you could have them install new strings, rehair the bow, check the instrument's adjustment (bridge placement, sound post, etc.) and generally make it playable.  Then, you could get a new case for it and it might make a very nice gift.

Note: Old cases are usually not protective enough for modern use.  Especially if the player is a young person who might bang it around a bit on the way to school.  Also, if the hair of the bow is scattered all over the case, or if you see bug casings in the cracks and corners, you'll want to replace the case or treat it for bow bugs before putting a new bow in.  I only mention it because it is quite common for cases that have been left unopened for long periods of time to have bow bug infestations.  A Google search for "Bow Bugs" will tell you more about it.

Best of luck, and sorry that I couldn't tell you more.

Jim Fisher  


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James S. Fisher


Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.


I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins,


I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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