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An E.H.Roth violin?
Truly saddened by what I have found out but hoping for the best.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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JimandThomas
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December 15, 2023 - 9:16 am
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My heart is breaking somewhat this morning because I got an email back from the Roth company in Germany this morning about Thomases violin. Our luthier is a very reputable man and has been for years, as well as a family friend for decades but a mistake may have happened either by him or the Roth company themselves. I am forgiving if it was a mistake by my luthier and understanding if Roth company made a mistake as well but it doesnt ease the pain for Thomas. Over the years, our luthier has provided Thomas with great violins and ahs been extraordinarily delightful when we trade up at full value when money dictates. We went from a $200 violin to our, now, $8500 violin, made by Roth. I will add the appraisal info and other piks. Anyway, Thomas watned more info on his violin for a school project so after not finding anything anywhere online, I finally relented and emailed Roth themselves. I was hoping they would help me without charging the normal $200 and I was pleasantly surprised when I recieved the email back this morning WITHOUT a bill attached. Here is their reply:

"Thank you for your mail and the beautiful pictures. We are sorry, we can not help you because this instrument was not made by us, it is not genuine because your instrument has not the right label(The lable looks like it was drawn by self) and not original brand stamp from Eugen Meinel and it is not listed in our archive and it was not build in our workshop in Markneukirchen. It is a FAKE. We can only give information about our "Original" Ernst Heinrich Roth instruments with brand stamp and serial number. Please see our website. We hope you understand this and we wish you a very nice weekend and best health."

Now a few things pop up immediately. I have looked on maestronet and quite a few other sties and have found that pre-1924 Roth violins had no serial numbers. Roth also has been making violins since they first opened shop in pre-1910. They say in their reply that they can only tell me about violins made with a serial number and there are many Roth violins , original and authentic ones, that do NOT have a serial number, so that voids that part of their reply. It seems on one hand they are saying one thing but leaves the door wide open on its authenticity still, just from their own words. 

This violin was made in 1916. So my question is...is there something or someone who can definatively tell me if this is truly a Roth violin? Boy, I sure do appreciate it because I really am heartbroken, not only because I plunked down so much money over the years but I cant imagine how Thomas is going to feel. Besides, how can I honestly insure it if the appraisal is not accurate?front-4.JPGImage Enlargerlabel-3.JPGImage Enlargerapp-2.jpgImage Enlargerlabel2-2.JPGImage Enlargerlabel3-2.JPGImage Enlargerside-2.JPGImage Enlarger

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Jim(Thomases Dad)

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Unfretted
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December 15, 2023 - 10:13 am
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@JimandThomas, I think there are three points to look at here.

If you seek additional opinions about this violin, Fred Oster at Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia is a knowledgeable source.

Even if the violin does not have the pedigree you believed, it still may be a monetarily valuable instrument in its own right.

But the true value of the violin is what it has given to Thomas, and will continue to give to Thomas.  And the most important thing is how Thomas feels about his violin.  How much does he he love it, enjoy playing it? How much has he bonded with it?  If Thomas truly loves this violin and appreciates the fact that you went all out to obtain it for him, that’s ultimately all that matters.  If a child suddenly learns that he is adopted, does he love his good parents less or value them less?

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JimandThomas
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December 15, 2023 - 10:17 am
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@Unfretted Thank you and yes, he loves the viollin but there will come a day when we are going to want to upgrade again and if this is not a genuine Meinel as listed on the receipt and appraisal, I will have a dickens of a time getting at least what I paid for it or even for insurance purposes, so I will be stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think now is the time to straighten it out before we get to the point where he wants an even better violin.

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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ELCBK
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December 15, 2023 - 11:00 am
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@JimandThomas -

Oh boy... that's enough to ruin Christmas. 

I know it's awkward, but since you purchased the violin from your luthier 'friend', I'd hand a copy of the email to him... you should be able to ask for his help, since the burden of an explanation is really upon him.  I'd give him a chance to figure out what's going on & make it right - you never know if some rookie at Roth got stuck in charge of dealing with email inquiries. 

Does your luthier have some kind of disclosure, like "violins sold as is - no guarantee of authenticity"? 

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JimandThomas
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December 15, 2023 - 11:07 am
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@ELCBK I dont know about the as is, I haver never seen that anywhere and even so, I highly doubt that he (and I cant imagine anyone) doing that to someone. I am going to show him the email from Roths but I wanted to get all my ducks in a row first by looking to see if there is a possibility that this violin is authentic. I have(since posting this)seen Eugen Meinel violins being sold for more than 9000 dollars without mention of it coming from Roth and they were made in 1920 so I am really leaning toward(maybe I am just being either gullible or optimistic)the fact that I have a violin that was indeed made in 1916 by Roth/Meinel because they WERE made during that year, just not numbered. And I strongly assume that an appraisal IS the guarantee of authenticity...would you?

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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SharonC
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December 15, 2023 - 11:19 am
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@JimandThomas

Seems like kind of an odd response from Roth.  For one thing, the original label could have come off.  So, I could understand them saying that they could not validate that it was one of theirs because the label did not match one of theirs, but to just say right off the bat that it was a fake just seems weird. 

There is an old thread on Violinist.com that talks about some Roths.   Of interest, one of the posters indicates that he bought a 1920 Roth from a German restorer who gave him copies of pages from a book called “The Master Violins Made by Ernst Heinrich Roth” that pertained to his instrument. 

Link to Violinist.com Thread (post about 1/3 of the way down by “Troy Messenger”):

https://www.violinist.com/disc.....hive/5537/

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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AndrewH
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December 15, 2023 - 6:22 pm
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After a bit of digging through Maestronet, it looks to me like the reason they think it's a fake may be that the label says the violin was made in 1916, but is in a style that the Roth company did not start using until the mid-1920s as per multiple Maestronet posts. So if the violin was actually made in 1916, the label in it is not the original label.

A replacement label is a distinct possibility, of course.

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JimandThomas
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December 16, 2023 - 6:58 am
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@AndrewH I have a strong feeling you are right. I honestly believe it to have been made in 1916 because they had been making them since 1902 but the weird thing is, there is only one or two pre-1920 Meinel violins anywhere on the internet which begs the question "Where are the viollins made pre-1920?" I dont know if this counts for anything but the dimensions are exactly the same as a 1910 Roth violin I found online as well as a 1920 violin I also found online. 

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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JimandThomas
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December 18, 2023 - 8:45 am
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I recently posted(along with pictures) information and the reply I received back from Roth about the violin I paid a LOT of money for. I went ahead and paid the almost $200 to Roth in Germany to get any and all info I could so I could finally settle this and talk to my luthier if I had to. Turns out, I may not need to after all. (Roth even reimbursed me my money back because of the email I received back from them this morning along with a MERRY CHRISTMAS).

"Dear Mr. Baily

We have no records prior to 1924. We haver Eugen Meinel instruments from 1924-1929 in our digital archives but we do know there were violins with the Meinel printed labels and branding prior to 1910 as well but we have no papers proving this. Your luthier would not have known any of this so it is not his fault.

Merry Christmas as we refunded your money and have a nice day"

 

Soooo.......the evidence HIGHLY suggests my violin is authentic with the only proof is this email as well as the appraisal. I believe I should be good with that but have one remaining question.

 

Do you think I should still continue digging or just be content with what I have for "proof"?

 

(This post was moved by Mouse and added to the original post 12/18/2023 🐭)

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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Unfretted
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December 18, 2023 - 9:48 am
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JimandThomas said
….

Soooo.......the evidence HIGHLY suggests my violin is authentic with the only proof is this email as well as the appraisal. I believe I should be good with that but have one remaining question.

Do you think I should still continue digging or just be content with what I have for "proof"?

@JimandThomas ,

If you have your trusted luthier’s word, the appraisal, the email from Roth, and Thomas’s seal of approval, that should ease your mind.  You’ve opened Pandora’s box and had a reprieve.  

If you do want more information, did you check out Fred Oster in Philadelphia as I initially suggested?  Maybe try contacting him by email.  I knew him decades ago when he was a little bit less renowned— don’t know how generous he is with his time nowadays.  But a simple email can’t hurt.  FYI, he worked at Christie’s years ago, and has strong credentials.  He’s the guy giving his expert opinion about vintage instruments on The Antiques Roadshow.  He is a collector and seller of fine violins in Philadelphia, PA.

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ELCBK
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December 18, 2023 - 12:55 pm
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violin-music-musical-notes-red-wallpaper.jpg@JimandThomas -

That's definitely good news! 

Do you have any leads as to previous owners... smelling something interesting? 

Hey, never know if you might uncover the next "The Red Violin"

...the possibility of a great story can be hard to resist. 

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JimandThomas
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December 18, 2023 - 1:11 pm
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@Unfretted I did send him a message a few days ago and am waiting to hear back from him. @ELCBK No idea the previous owners but I have a feeling it really is a Meinel, and must be a rare one if you can count on one had the amount of Meinels pre-1920 out there. 

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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