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Violinist.com Interviews: Vol. 1

Our exclusive, one-on-one interviews with 27 of today's best-known violinists, including Hilary Hahn, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, David Garrett, Anne Akiko Meyers, Maxim Vengerov, and others.


Ernst Heinrich Roth Violin

Instruments: I'm looking into buying this instrument.

From Rebekah Morgan
Posted May 15, 2010 at 06:01 PM

Hey,

I have been looking at violins and I found a Roth violin that I really like, but the price is a stretch. I know we can negotiate, but we don't want to go too low and insult the people who are selling it to us. They are asking for $8,000 for the violin. This is including a discount that they are giving us, since I first tried the instrument at All-State and that was the price then.

On the inside, there is a paper label with script font:
Ernst Heinrich Roth
Bubenreuth - Erlangen 1954
Reproduction of
Antonius Stradavarius
Cremona 1714

There is a branded label above it that says:
Ernst Heinrich Roth
Bubenreuth
Erlangen

There is also a number branded inbetween the two labels: 1072

Any information on this instrument is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Rebekah M. ?

From VJ PITILU
Posted on May 15, 2010 at 08:43 PM

Hi!

Auction prices: www.bromptonsauctioneers.com/Reference-Guide/Yearbook/Yearbook.html

It appears to be a model IR (see below for explanation).

You might want to try Ebay, if you wish to take a risk and the condition (no cracks) of the EH Roth violin is exactly as described. The ones made in Markneukirchen in in the 1920s appear to be sought after by collectors while the ones made in Bubenreuth/Erlangen (after WWII) appear to be valued at less (relatively).

EH Roth violins have been discussed before on v.com. I have added (or repeated some of the information from the book by H. Simson), so you can decide.

The EH Roth website is at http://www.roth-violins.de/index_eng.htm

Please see the following links where EH Roth violins were discussed before on v.com:

 

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=5537
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=12802
http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=11965
http://www.violinist.com/blog/Lynn/20095/10162/

In general, the instruments made before World War II, especially the ones from the 1920s made in Markneukirchen, are sought after by collectors. A VIR (Guarneri copy that appeared to be in very good condition was sold by what appears to be a reputable dealer) from the 1920s recently went for about USD $5500 (I think),  on Ebay.

All the following information, with the exception of my comments, is from, "The Master Violins Madde By Ernst Heinrich Roth", by H. Simson, 1924, and pertains to the violins made when EH Roth I was alive (and, with some exceptions, probably, also the violins after WWII).

After World War II, the Roths moved to the erstwhile West Germany from Markneukirchen (East Germany).

The current violins are made in Bubenreuth/Erlangen and, after re-unification, both, in Markneukirchen and Bubenreuth/Erlangen.

There appear to be no dates, such as, "Markneukirchen 1919", on the labels inside the violins made before 1920. The labels and branded stamp are present, though.

With branded stamp (Brandstempel)


Inside label reads:

Copy of Antonius Stradivarius (my comment: may also read "Copie")
Ernst Heinrich Roth

120R - modeled after a Strad from about 1700
130R - Strad model
140R - Nicola (sic) Amati "Grand" pattern

IR to XIR (Roman numerals)

Inside label reads:

Ernst Heinrich Roth ( Fraktur/Gothic script)
Markneukirchen 192x
Reproduction of
Antonius Stradivarius
Cremona 1725

IR - Strad model from 1714
IIR - Guarnerius model from 1734
IIIR - Nicola (sic) Amati model from 1670, similar to 140R
IVR - Strad model from 1718
VR - Francesco Ruggieri (pupil of Nicola (sic) Amati) model from 1685
VIR - Guarnerius model from 1732. Was loaned to Ernst Heinrich Roth I "by Messrs. Silvestre & Maucotel for the purpose of making a reproduction".
VIIR - Strad model from 1722
VIIIR - Strad model from 1724
IXR - Guarnerius (del Gesu) model from 1736, which E. H. Roth studied closely while on a visit to England.
XR - Strad model from 1725 (my comment: current catalog model 72)
XIR - Made-to-order instruments made by EH Roth I himself. (my comment: current catalog model # 81. The catalog from 1952 says that the instruments offered in 1952 were from a collection selected by EH Roth during his lifetime while the Simson catalog states what is mentioned earlier).

Pure oil varnish used for violin models VIR to XR (from H. Simson's catalog).

Endorsed by Prof. Eugene Ysaye, Mr. Mischa Mischakoff, Mr. Jacques Gordon, Prof. Felix Berber, Prof. Henry Marteau, and Prof. Robert Reitz in the 1920s.

From Andrew Victor
Posted on May 16, 2010 at 07:10 PM

1954 is almost 30 years after they heyday of EH Roth's violin making triumphs, so the instrument should not likely be priced anywhere near those earlier fine handmades that today can go for as high as $10,000 (US).

In the 1980s, I had an adult violin student who "scored" a 1927 (or slightly earlier, can't remember) E.H. Roth in a pawnshop while driving through northwestern Nevada. It cost him $125 with case and bow, at a time that such violins were selling for about 10X that amount. It was the "real thing," with a powerful bright sound. He and I had talked about this maker - so he knew what he was getting - but the pawnshop didn't. Some people have all the luck!

Judging by "I's" input, it would seem to me that the 1950s EH Roths were a low point and seem to be going for less than $1,500. However, you must realize that auction prices on many instruments are 50% or less than the price a dealer will charge. I would think that to buy such a violin, one should compare it with good modern Chinese violins at the same price.

Andy

From Royce Faina
Posted on May 16, 2010 at 09:47 PM

Rebekah

How does it play and sound?  If it was made after it's heyday I can see being concerned about price, after all is it worth the asked for price or is that too much?!?!

From VJ PITILU
Posted on May 17, 2010 at 02:30 AM

Rebecca: It looks like my post was long-winded, but here's the Cliff Notes version: The price appears to be very high for a Bubenreuth/Erlangen violin made in the 1950s. IMHO, the price ought to be in the $3k-4k range, retail, probably less at auction. Andrew Victor is right.

Hope this helps,

From Rebekah Morgan
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 01:22 PM

Hey,

Thank you so much for all of your comments! That is very interesting.

The sound of the instrument is rich and clear. The D string is a little weak, but the rest is strong.

I am currently debating between the Roth and another violin that Claire Givens violins sent me to try. They are extremely close and the Claire Givens one is only about $6,000. It is a Scott Marckx violin that was made in Port Townsend in 2002. This violin has a beautiful sound and when my violin teacher, my family, and I did some "blind auditions," they were pretty much equal. By blind audition, I mean where my violin teacher and I would take turns playing and listening to it while the listeners weren't looking and didn't know which one we were playing. It was like a dead end, since every time we would do it, the votes would be equally split!

I think either one would be a good violin to last me through college, but I don't want to make a decision that I will later regret. Do you think it would be an insult to ask the guy selling the Roth to lower the price to about $6,000?

Thanks,

Rebekah M.

From VJ PITILU
Posted on May 25, 2010 at 04:26 PM

Hi!

I do not know anything about Scott Marckx's violins, so I am not qualified to comment on the violins made by him.  This is not meant to persuade you or dissuade you from buying a violin made by any maker.

As for the violins made by the firm of Ernst Heinrich Roth, one could try another option which would cost less than US $6000.


As for blind tests proving anything, please see

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=8487

and http://www.fritz-reuter.com (Fritz Reuter was mentioned in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about modern makers http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117633675749567083.html)

(Navigation path)

http://www.roth-violins.de/index_eng.htm ->Click on "Pricelist" -> Click on "Pricelist Download" -> Check the price for model I-R (the one from the 1950s that you are considering buying).


If one were to purchase a model I-R Roth violin (current catalog no. 52) directly from the firm of Ernst Heinrich Roth, it would cost one 2,728 Euros or, approximately, US $ 3390.

It would not be "played in" and it might have the quality of sound of a new instrument. But, for a price of, approximately, US $ 3500, it would be a good deal in terms of what it would have cost a year ago, what with the Euro having dipped very low against the US dollar. In fact, one could even spend an extra US $ 2000 in travel costs to visit the Ernst Heinrich Roth shop in Germany and the total cost would still be less than US $6000 with a vacation of sorts thrown in.

One would need to ask about the shipping (and insurance) charges,  the customs clearance required and the return policy.

One can also contact Mr. E. H. Wilhelm Roth whose email address is  "e.h.roth-violinsATt-onlineDOTde" (replace the AT and DOT with @ and a period, respectively).

Disclaimer
: In the interest of full disclosure,  I would like to state that I have no relationship or dealings of a financial nature with the Ernst Heinrich Roth company. Furthermore, I am not paid to endorse or advertise any of their products. The opinions expressed are entirely my own and have nothing to do with that of the firm of Ernst Heinrich Roth (or anyone else).

From Steven Loeb
Posted on June 12, 2010 at 05:05 PM

This is my first post here so I'm sorry if I've posted in the wrong place

I have two EH Roth model #68 violins. These look to be student instruments mostly because for as little German as I know, I think "Schulerinstrumente" means "school instruments" but I can't seem to find much information on them.

Does anyone know anything about them?

The label says in German

"Dieses Instrument wurde in der Roth-Werkstatt spielfertighergestellt und entspricht den MaBen fur Schulerinstrumente

Ernst Heinrich Roth

Bubenreuth, West Germany"

Then there's the Roth "R" in a circle and next to it "modell" (written) #68 and "datum'  (written) 1/79

This is all printed on a label except the date and model number

Thanks

 

 

 

From Douglas Marples
Posted on June 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Roth instruments are and were produced at various quality levels, denoted by model numbers or the pseudo date (1718, 1725, etc) on the labels.  The value is partly determined by model and condition, but more importantly by when the instrument was made.  The ones from the 1920's tend to be prized and sought after.  The post WW II instruments, much less so.  Here's the Roth website in English:

www.roth-violins.de/index_eng.htm

 

Doug

From VJ PITILU
Posted on June 14, 2010 at 03:46 PM

Steven:

I have not seen any Schuelerinstrument (based on what the label says). I am guessing that the model numbers do not correspond to the "Concert" or  "Master" violins made by the Ernst Heinrich Roth firm and the violin may be of a lower designation with the specifications corresponding to a student-level instrument.

You can send an email to Mr. E. H. Wilhelm Roth of the Roth firm to find out more about the violins.  Look under "Contact".

From Steven Loeb
Posted on June 22, 2010 at 07:53 PM

Thank you very much for you response.

I have taken your advice and emailed Mr Roth

From Deborah McCann
Posted on July 1, 2010 at 02:18 PM

Rebecca,

 

Be careful as Ernest H. Roth was not making violins himself after the 1920's.  I sold one with papers via Moenning in 2007 for $3,000.  Mine was a 1924.  E.H. was an old man by this time.

 

Best of luck in your search.

 

Deborah

From VJ PITILU
Posted on July 1, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Deborah:

You are right. I am just curious. Did Moennig's sell it for $3K or is that what you received from them?

Here's an article about a violin made by Ernst Heinrich Roth himself.  Click on the link, "Pictures: 2 pictures".

The original article is in German. I own a similar violin made by EH Roth (EH Roth I) himself and this was authenticated by the EH Roth firm as having been made in 1918.

Was your violin a model XIR?

As for the ones made in the 1920s, H. Simson's catalog from 1924 states this about Roth's model XIR:
There are a number of well known violinists who are not in position (sic) to purchase an old violin which would meet with (sic) all their requirements, for such violins are in most cases too costly and not within their reach. For therse instrumentalists Ernst Heinrich Roth has consented to make violins to order which will generally be classified as No. XIR, and made according to specifications demanded by the artist in  both Guarnerius and Stradivarius models. Every one of these instruments is the handiwork of Ernst Heinrich Roth from beginning to end and requires from four to five months toime to be completed.

Page 12:
"He thoroughly understands all the intricacies of the art and, in fact, supervises each violin in the making and personally finishes every instrument bearing his own name. No violin leaves his establishment without having been tested by him as to its perfection in all respects."

So this is applicable only to the model XIR violins. Also, see Mischa Mishakoff's letter to EH Roth about his model XIR violin.

From Yeagi Kim
Posted on November 1, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I have a 1992 Roth violin I'm trying to sell, but don't know the price. I've looked up the Roth violin website, but couldn't really figure it out. I know that it's worth less than the ones made before WWII, but does anyone know how much an early 1990's Roth violin would cost these days? The label doesn't' say what model it is, but I'm pretty sure it's a Strad model.
From David Hall
Posted on November 2, 2012 at 07:30 AM
From Brian Lee
Posted on November 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM
The Ex-Mischakoff Roth is going for sale at the next Tarisio auction :)
From Sonny Pak
Posted on November 2, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Hi,

I believe it is overpriced, IMHO. There are Roth's that are going for 8000USD+, but, those are the one's made in the 1920's which are highly sought after.

1714 strad copy is also their lowest end model.

I purchased a 1927 Roth(1718 strad copy) in great condition for 7000USD last year, if you want to use that as a reference point.

Wikipedia has a nice entry for Ernst Heinrich Roth. You'll find good information there.

I hope this helps.

Sonny

From David Hall
Posted on November 2, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Thanks Lyndon, I appreciate your prompt response.
From Kelsey Zachary
Posted on November 2, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I purchased a 1920's Roth, Gaurneri model violin in pristine condition about 6 years ago for 12,000CND and agree, the Stradivari models are at the lower end of the price spectrum (I had the opportunity to try out a couple of Roths at the same time amongst several other instruments when I was purchasing my instrument.) If you're looking to purchase, my best advice would be to try out several instruments and make sure that you can have some time with the instrument before committing to buy it, it is, after all a lot of money!

Best of luck!!

From Hendrik Hak
Posted on November 3, 2012 at 03:22 PM
"Do you think it would be an insult to ask the guy selling the Roth to lower the price to about $6,000?"

Hi Rebekah, you probably won't read this any more as it is an old post but hopefully you didn't pay $6000 for that Roth. Or $5000.

You are expressing the kind of concern that most of us have or had at times. In psychological terms it is called "the sucker's choice".
It is the thought that we have to choose between the relationship and the results we want - but cannot have both. Sets us up for being manipulated.

For me one way of bargaining is to set a price beforehand that seems reasonable or is all I am willing to pay. When the sales person comes up with reasons why it should be more I just say that my price is all that I am going to budget for. Or am able to budget for. I am not belittling his product and there is no possible reason for him to feel insulted.

From Chang Lee
Posted on August 2, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Another question regarding Roth violin made in the 1920s! I would like to know how standard gradations as listed in the 1920s Roth catalogues affect the price and resale values of violins exclusively made in the 1920s. Based on extensive web searching it appears that higher end models like XR sells somewhere between $7,000 - $10,000. Is this price range applies to any Roth violin made in the 1920s regardless of the model if they are in mint condition with decent sound?
What do you think of 1923 Ernst Heinrich Roth 1714 Stradivarius replica (IR - lower-end model)priced for $8,000?