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Henrique Meirelles

Vuillaume... In 1814?

June 19, 2012 at 4:40 AM

Dear friends from,

My name is Henrique, and I'm writing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I've been dealing with a situation over here for some weeks now and I feel that I need some kind of guidance from my fellow violinists.

Well, my teacher (who, by the way, is a dear friend and great musical peer) offered to sell one of his violins, from his very personal collection. The instrument is said to be a Vuillaume, made obviously in Paris, France. I fell in love with the instrument the moment I set my eyes on it. The tone is amazing and it feels really comfortable to play it. However, as I made a true effort to read the tag, I could see that it "dates" back to 1814.

Now, as far as I know, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume started to truly make violins around the 1820's. I believe that in 1814 he wasn't even in Paris, what makes this instrument here a mere copy, right?

I would like to know what kind of documents I could expect from my teacher proving the instrument's origin. Are there any certificates I could ask to see?

I know that during Vuillaume's high time many other luthiers adopted his name, but all the copies I could see on the web had no dates on their tags, so why would this specific copy carry the weird date of 1814?

Please let me know what you think I kinda need to figer out how to go about the whole thing.



From Joyce Lin
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 6:54 AM
Is "Villaume" a typo by you or it's really spelled that way on the label? If it's the latter, then 1814 should not be a surprise (not that it should be a surprise if the name on the label is correct).

How much is the asking price? An authentic (or a fake if the seller can get away with it) J B Vuillaume violin is priced at US$150,000+.

From Henrique Meirelles
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM
Oops, I'm sorry, I misspelled it... The tag follows the Vuillaume pattern, but that date is so weird, it almost doesn't make sense.

Do you know anyone I could send this pictures to in order to have another opinion? =)

From Joyce Lin
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 3:09 PM
You will probably have better luck getting help at maestronet for questions like this. Also, if you post your question (and photos) at the discussion forum instead of here in your blog, you might get more answers (all discussion threads must be approved by Laurie, so be patient).
From martin swan
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM
I would suggest you post photos on the "pegbox" thread of Maestronet. Various well known authorities (and I) will be able to give you an opinion. But yes, the date is too early for a Jean Baptiste Vuillaume .... it's not Claude Francois Vuillaume is it?
From Henrique Meirelles
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 6:58 PM
Thank you very much.
I'll post some pictures on the Maestronet Forums.

From Annette Brower
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I sold a J.B. Vuillaume through Tarisio auciton house in April. They confirmed the maker. Will the seller agree to an appraisal? The net was $106,000. A violin is often worth what someone will pay for it. I thought it would go for more but it met the reserve so it was fine.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on June 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM
You really need to have an expert luthier take a look at the instrument and tell you what it is. I assume from what you have said that it lacks a certificate of authenticity, and the only evidence you have that it is a Vuillaume is the label. Labels are essentially meaningless in the violin world. Maybe it's a genuine, maybe not. But you need someone to tell you what it is and what it's worth. Find the luthier in Rio most experienced with expensive old violins and get an opinion before you put down any money.

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