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Violin identification help
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 

March 5, 2021 - 11:37 am
Member Since: November 10, 2018
Forum Posts: 174
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I say it must be the face of the man the violin was made for. Someone with a super-inflated ego.

No ? amuse


March 5, 2021 - 12:42 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 1644
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@melodymeds -

I found a little interesting info at feinviolins.com -

"In the 17th century, Italian trade routes changed, for political reasons, thus taking the route directly through Mittenwald. This allowed a small town, known for the fine carvings of Saint figurines, to take their knowledge of woodworking and apply it directly to violin making." 

"Another serendipitous moment, this time unfortunate, for German violin making occurred immediately after World War II when east German makers were forced out of communist Luby/Schonbach. In 1948, the communists nationalized instrument making under a newly formed national company named "Cremona." 

All said, don't think your violin carving looks like a religious figure (only my opinion) but Antonín Dvořák was a famous Czech composer, and I have seen many carved heads of other composers, so this is speculation on my part.


One last thing...

The 1st link I gave you, about what to look for in labels (Skinner), does appraisals of antique violins.  You can contact them with your photos. 

Also, the Smithsonian has great advice about appraisals and info on famous violin makers here. 




I hope you'll let us know what you eventually find out about your family violin! 

- Emily

Fort Lauderdale
March 11, 2021 - 7:44 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15403
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To me, it doesn't look like an old violin.

I know that Romanians and Hungarians have been known to carve heads and such out of scrolls. 

Is there no label or stamp inside the violin that can be seen through the f-hole?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

Gordon Shumway
London, England
Pro advisor

March 11, 2021 - 8:48 am
Member Since: August 1, 2016
Forum Posts: 1404
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stringy said
I have a friend who is a luthier I sent your image to him to try to help out, his reply was it looks like the head had been blowtorched sanded and then varnished again. Aged varnish would have lost its lustre, and also the burning has touched the top of the peg box, so I dont like to be the bearer of bad news but your fiddle may not be as old as you think. Your daughter should enjoy the fiddle as a memento and treasure it as it is, the value is in the memories.


The thing that looks most odd to me is the eggshell finish on the pegbox contrasted with the high gloss on the head.

Also, I'm fascinated by the shape of the top under the fingerboard. Rather than a gentle bellying, the curvature is quite sudden.



March 11, 2021 - 11:30 am
Member Since: August 23, 2020
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Hadnt  noticed that under the fingerboard, very odd looking.

maybe its a composite, just a thought?

March 11, 2021 - 12:11 pm
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@stringy and @Gordon Shumway, you two are super sleuths. 

The Bumblebee Flies!


March 11, 2021 - 12:18 pm
Member Since: June 10, 2020
Forum Posts: 1644
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Here's from the Smithsonian link I gave.

Stainer Family - violin makers:

"Some characteristic features of his instruments are the relatively broad lower back, higher arching of the belly than the back, beautifully cut scrolls and, in some cases, beautifully carved heads of lions, angels, or women, and varnish ranging in color from amber to orange-red, comparable in brilliance to Cremonese varnish." 



Exciting, even if it's just a copy! 

- Emily

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