Stainer Violin?

October 15, 2011 at 04:14 AM ·

I've found what is described as a " Handmade Stainer Violin" by the son of the original owner purchased some time around 1943. The label reads 17xx something, but I really doubt this is a violin made in the 1700s. More likely a copy made mid 20th Century. It has "Stainer" stamped or carved into the back plate.

I haven't seen it but he says it's in good condition excepting that his father stripped the finish with the intention of having it refinished but he passed before doing so. Otherwise he claims no cracks, repairs, etc. The stripped finish isn't a deal breaker for me.

In asking what he would wanted for it he initially stated $1,000 which I quickly shot down. He then said he'd take $250 for it. It has no case and he said the bow would need to be re-haired.

Can someone provide any information on a "Handmade Stainer Violin" that might give me a better idea of what this guy has and if it's worth the time to travel to his city to see it?

Thanks in advance.

Replies (8)

October 15, 2011 at 06:02 AM ·

hi tony,

in my opinion, don't bother. shooting down 75% of the original price seems to me to be suspicious. red flag. and its not worth travelling to another city for a violin at this price range, you might as well order online.

also, in reality, no one can give you an idea of how good -or quite likely- how bad the instrument is with a sole label citation. bearing a stainer, amati or strad or guarneri label is essentially irrelevant unless the violin is really one of the which case it would cost anything from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. not $250 :o) my understanding is that labels are used, very very loosely, to describe a certain semblance to one of the models associated with the cited maker - the better and more sophisticated (and possibly ethical - since the label must mean something) the copyist, the closer it is to the actual model. but you will find that the better the copyist is, the more expensive the copy is. usually, the less sophisticated copies  probably conform to a  outline /arching semblance ...which by itself, in my understanding, promises nothing.

best is to go to (or order online from) a good reputable violin shop that has a good exchange policy and gives you adequate trial period...if you live in a country thats lucky enough to have something of that sort. this advice has been given countless times here but for a good reason. all the best 

October 15, 2011 at 11:51 AM ·

On the other hand, $250 is peanuts for a violin...

October 15, 2011 at 03:40 PM ·

I don't original Stainers had his name on the back.

October 15, 2011 at 03:42 PM ·

Yes, that varnish strip is a problem.

October 15, 2011 at 05:53 PM ·

So far as I know, virtually all 'Stainer' violins are copies and the copyists were often not particularly faithful to the originals. A 'Stainer' violin with 'Stainer' stamped on the back plate is probably a late copy. The varnish-stripped state of this particular violin presents a problem, and the cost of a good revarnishing (which I take it would be expensive) needs to be factored into the OP's accounting. Tammuz's query about the value of travelling to another city to see it is worth bearing in mind.  I once came across a 'Stainer' (complete with back plate stamp) which needed £800-worth of work doing on it to make it playable, and the very reliable luthier who appraised it told me that I could have a much better violin for even that amount of money.  I took his advice.

October 15, 2011 at 06:13 PM ·

 Go to Ebay, and you'll find plenty of them, mostly ready to go, for around $250 on average. It's not rare; it's not even desirable. I'd pass on this one.

October 15, 2011 at 09:04 PM ·

Thanks to all who responded. I'm just looking for a beater violin with a good tone that I don't have to be concerned will be adversely affected by the high humidity if I decide to take it to the park and practice in an area where few people roam.

Recently purchased a used Yamaha SV110K electric violin (for late night practice) that I'll take and the cheap bow since both are not likely to be affected by changes in temp, humidity, etc. Sometimes I just want to be out in nature with the violin and enjoy the outdoors and sunshine.

October 16, 2011 at 06:25 PM ·

 I have a stainer. It cost me $200 (equivalent). It's on free loan to a pupil.

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