Violin/HOPE violin


I have found a violin that has no inside label, but it says HOPE just below the neck on the back.  I can only find info on a program called "violins for hope" and there is a Daniel Hope luthier, but this does not appear to be his mark.  Are you familiar with it?

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Hi Amy
Almost certainly what you are seeing is really HOPF and not HOPE.  There were 17 different makers named HOPF as well as hundreds of thousands of copies of these instruments.  Without examining the instrument in person, or possibly from pictures, I couldn't possibly say if it is a real one or a copy.  Only a few of the real makers stamped simply HOPF on the backs of their instruments, usually it also included the first letter of the first name.  However, the vast majority of the copies did stamp HOPF on the back and most of these are very low value instruments worth only a few hundred dollars at most.  Even real ones aren't worth a lot as they made the instruments quickly and with lower grade materials. FYI, Daniel Hope was a violinist not a luthier. The best way to find out if your Hopf is a copy or an original is to have it seen in person at a violin shop or musical instrument auction house.

Hi again Amy

I was reading up on several of the Hopf makers from around WW1 and found an interesting anecdote that I don't know is true or not. But according to the story, some Hopf violins were stamped or possible altered to say HOPE when they were for sale in England because of the antisemitic feeling at that time. So if your violin really says HOPE, it is possible that it is a Hopf/Hopf copy but stamped HOPE. This might make it more likely to be real.  Again, I don't know if it is true or not, but it is an interesting story.


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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.

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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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