Violin/Antique Violin?


I bought an old C. Meisel 4/4 violin in Kansas City Missouri, to give to my daughter for her orchestra class. But after inspection of her teacher, he seemed to think it was older than the seller said it was. On the inside of the violin it has the C. Meisel and says in printed text: C. Meisel, Fine Violins, Not Genuine Without This Label, Made in West Germany. Then the serial number and patent are hand written and read: 6110 4/4, 4608. From what I've researched the only replaced items are the G string and the chin rest. The bridge is original and so is the fine tuner. the polish on the wood is some what scuffed up and some polish slightly below the pegs is missing. It is also in an original case. So I was wondering how old it might be and how much it might cost.

Hi Alex
Technically your violin is not an antique as it was only made after 1949, well younger than the 100 year old unwritten rule for something to be an antique, other than a car. I know it is only that old because of the "West Germany" on the label. The other thing that I know is that it is a beginner level instrument as that is what the model 6110 was and that model number was used well into the late 1900's. Germany was reunified in 1990, so it can't be newer than that. These typically sell in the $200-300 range and are fairly common. Exact value will be based on condition, not just physical but maintenance as well. Old strings and old hair on the bow detract from the value as well as other damage. An original bridge is not something of value and more than likely also needs to be replaced. A violin shop will be able to give you a more precise estimate of value and repairs needed.


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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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