A.W. Kaufman violins?
Hi Everyone -
Long time lurker and first time post.
I have a violin on loan that was created by A.W. Kaufman, an American luthier who lived in San Jose (CA), in 1904. I think it plays beautifully and has a really interesting reddish varnish and cool/quirky label.
It's not a cheap instrument at retail (nearly $10K) and I can't seem to find any information about him or his instruments on the web. I was wondering if anyone on this forum is familiar with Kaufman and/or owns a Kaufman instrument. Thanks!
I see 2 on a regular basis. One belongs to an older player who got it from her teacher as a young woman. Her teacher had two, both of which she had gotten from Mr. Kaufman.
Hi Duane - thank you. It's super generous of you to answer this thread on Thanksgiving!
American amateur maker for $10,000?? What is that about????
I guess that I should say, "Autodidact".
Thanks guys. Autodidact it is.
Welcome to Violinist.com Chris,
Well it should be noted that when you shop at Jay Ifshin, like most top shops, you do expect to pay FULL retail prices!!
The Wemberg American makers book calls him an amateur maker and doesn't say anything good or bad about the quality or tone of his violins.
Thanks Lyndon. What does the Wemberg book say about Kaufman overall or is he just listed as an entry? I just started researching all of this and the Wemberg book is a new one for me too.
It just describes the time period he worked, the Strad model and the red? varnish and the lengthy label, some with pictures of the maker, nothing about the quality or tone of his violins as I have said, its a pretty basic entry, some entries go into much more depth.
Violins in this price range are not supposed to be priced on tone, and I find it difficult to believe an amateur maker appraising for $10,000, Usually a good American amateur violin, much better than average might price $3-4,000. Maybe there's some kind of demand for his instruments, I can't imagine an amateur German or French violin being worth that much either, Italian, yes, but this violin is not Italian.
Fair enough, Lyndon. I personally have no idea what else is driving the pricing here but this will help me explore that a bit as I look at violins in the range.
A store like Ifshins should have at least 20 violins in that price range, and there are other stores in the bay Area that may have more reasonable prices. Is the violin really that good, have you compared it to multiple instruments in that price range??
I've only compared it to ~2-3 others in the range (or higher) so far so I have a bunch more homework to do. Heading back in a week or two.
The bridge doesn't look very well carved, is this a consignment, that would explain a lot. And its a $5 bridge blank, I would expect much better on a $10,000 violin.
Got it - so just reading into this a bit...
No I'm saying that on consignment, the store is often not responsible for the set up or the price, its what the customer asks for and supplies. I use Audert luxe or deluxe bridges on almost all my violins, they wholesale for $17-22, the bridge on your violin is just the generic Aubert that sells for about $5, I would expect better from Ifshin, unless it is a consignment, and then they waive responsibility. Although often shops insist on doing proper set up even on consignments, and then charge the consignee out of the sale price. I would expect a top shop like Ifshin to do a more extensive carving and lightening of the bridge, as is the proper way to do it. Perhaps the violin came with that bridge and Ifshin did not fit it,that's what I am saying.
I get it now. Thanks for taking the time to write on this thread, Lyndon.
The shop rarely agrees to sell it at a price higher than they would assess its worth, though, at least we would hope??
If a customer brings a violin in to sell on consignment, in my shop at least, it needs to be in good condition and not need repairs. It needs to be properly set up. I don't offer instruments in need of repair or work, and I doubt that Ifshin does, either.
I don't much deal in violins that expensive, Duane might have more experience in that price range, I'm pretty much student to intermediate grade fiddles, what I can afford to buy and fix up.