Looking for a violin by Carlo Antonio Testore

September 7, 2008 at 07:53 PM · Anybody know where there is a great sounding one for sale in good condition?Thanks.

Replies (47)

September 7, 2008 at 11:28 PM · I think you will have to consult some dealers... These "cheap jackets" (as the Hills called them a century ago) are rather expensive today, be prepared to pay 100k or 150k for a good instrument by this maker, but I may be wrong.

September 7, 2008 at 11:55 PM · I think you can find a Testore for under 6 figures, but be prepared to invest a sometimes substantial amount of money to repair latent and visible damage. A friend of mine was offered a Testore family instrument (I think it was one of the better known Testores, too) for $28,000, but ultimately turned it down because she was quoted around $30,000 for necessary repairs with no guarantee of how it would sound afterward. Plus, that much repair work (twisted neck and sound post crack are two big ticket items I remember, but there were plenty of others to get to that repair price range) was going to impact the post-repair valuation of the instrument, and not in a good way.

Now good, clean, mostly unrepaired Testore violins--yeah, those haven't been cheap in a long time....

September 8, 2008 at 12:34 AM · LOL, over $100,000 for a Testore? The antique violin dealers are more out of touch with reality than oil companies.

September 8, 2008 at 05:59 AM · About the third most interesting violin sound I ever heard was a Testore. It was a brilliant sound, with some amazing stuff happening that I won't even try to describe. #2 was another weird experience, like I was hearing what a welding torch looks like. I must have some kind of synesthesia. #1 was only a great example of a certain metallic sound that I can't get enough of. The sounds that can come from violins really are uniquely amazing I think.

September 8, 2008 at 06:20 AM · Jim what was the first violin?

September 8, 2008 at 07:47 AM · I was so stunned or ashamed of myself or something that I didn't ask anybody what it was :) I've always wondered what it was.

September 8, 2008 at 01:27 PM · Here's one:


Don't know what it sounds like, but it seems to have the authentic fake purfling on the back.

September 9, 2008 at 12:18 AM · No purfling, inexact workmanship...I'm sure some Testores sound great but given the actual carpentry can any of these instruments prices be justified aside from their names and date/country of origin?

September 9, 2008 at 12:49 AM · I would go with a top comtemporary maker...


September 9, 2008 at 01:38 AM · Gosh... You all are a tough crowd.

Some Testore instruments can be charming... especially those by C. G. Testore, but certainly some by C. A. as well. The family made a varied range of quality, most likely because they were appealing to clients with a wide range of wallet size. Some were purfled, some not, some had flat backed pegboxes, etc.

While a really nice Testore can run a good deal more than $150K these days, I'm sure an ugly one, or one in poor shape, can be had for less than a hundred...

The new vs. old thing gets on my nerves after a while (sorry Manfio!). I think you're really dealing with two audiences there... though I'm sure some unsuspecting players get sucked up the tubes by the hype.

If you want a new instrument, look for a new one. There are some really great new instruments. If you want an old one, and can afford the "ticket", then look in the old market. I like both.

In Mr. Mann's case, I notice he likes to shop (he's asked about a good number of makers over the last few years). Don't blame him. I like shopping for fiddles too.



J. S. Holmes Fine Violins, LLC

September 9, 2008 at 01:38 AM · While a really nice Testore can run more than $150K. I'm sure an ugly one, or one in poor shape, can be had for less than a hundred..."

I hope you mean a hundred dollars and not a hundred thousand dollars. Ugly instruments with poor workmanship in bad shape are not functional. No violinist should waste their energy and frustration on an underperforming, overpriced instrument.

September 9, 2008 at 01:49 AM · "No violinist should waste their energy and frustration on an underperforming, overpriced instrument."

Than I trust that you won't, Max. I certainly wouldn't suggest it's a good idea to waste ones time.

Still got that Exxon stock? :-)

September 9, 2008 at 04:12 AM · LOL

Jeffrey I'm not of the opinion that all old Italians are bad instruments. :)

I'm rather particular to the Guarneri family. :)

September 9, 2008 at 11:11 AM · Good one Jeffrey!

Back to CA Testore.....

I sold one not so long ago for $200K. A very fine example..........and I also sold a viola for double this!

While the workmanship does vary...the top examples are quite fine!

What else does $200K get you these days? ;-)



September 9, 2008 at 10:11 PM · What does $20k get one these days? *sigh*

September 9, 2008 at 10:14 PM · Peanuts?

September 10, 2008 at 09:19 AM · A tank of gas?

September 10, 2008 at 04:04 PM · I know Ron Fletcher, a gifted luthier in Yonkers, NY, has a Testore.



Ron's a good guy. I don't know what his price for the Testore is.

September 12, 2008 at 11:31 AM · In the UK $20K only gets you a half a tank of Gas


September 12, 2008 at 03:15 PM · Petrol?? Pound by Pound


September 14, 2008 at 06:02 AM · Just got back from New York City. While there I was able to visit J&H Beare. Their Director, Michael Selman was showing me several excellent violins and one was a Testore. Beautiful shape as you might expect from Beare. Sound was excellent especially on the g & d strings. You might contact them to see if its still available. Good luck. Michael is wonderful to work with.

September 14, 2008 at 09:37 PM · Just curious........

Why are you limiting yourself to a violin by a specific maker, rather than trying everything that's available and choosing what you like best?

September 14, 2008 at 11:15 PM · Thanks to evryone for their input!

October 23, 2008 at 01:07 AM · I own a wonderful violin, made by Carlo Antonio Testore in 1732. It is in excellent shape and has an absolutely superb rich sound. The instrument was purchased for my father by my grandfather from Eugen Gartner in Stutgart in 1918. I have papers from Gartner verifying its authenticity as well as more recent confirmation from William Moennig in Philadelphia.

If you are interested in buying it, please send me a meassage directly together with your phone number and I will call you.

January 10, 2010 at 01:37 AM ·

 Are you still interested in a Testore? I have one (Carlo Antonio, 1756) for sale that has been on consignment with Moennig, which is alas suddenly closing its doors. It is now "in limbo" about to go to another dealer. My father got it for me many years ago from Moennig when I was studying with Galamian and Gingold. It has a wonderful sound and is in perfect condition.  I could share with you a CD of the Dohnanyi First Violin Concerto I performed on it a few years ago. Please respond to lawrence.franko@umb.edu

January 10, 2010 at 02:32 AM ·

I am stunned...Moennig's closing????????????????????

January 10, 2010 at 02:40 AM ·

 Yes. Moennig is closing its doors. To say I was shocked by the news would be an understatement. 

January 10, 2010 at 03:03 AM ·

I wonder why OP was so eager for a Testore, in particular.  Perhaps he was covering a short sale?

May 16, 2010 at 01:54 AM ·

I have a Carlo Antonio Testore that is in great shape just needs a new set of strings as far as I can see . Although the bow is not as perfect as the violin,I do have the origanal piece. And I only want $15,000 for mine. It's a steal if interested let me know!!!

May 28, 2010 at 05:23 PM ·

 Hello Lisa. Yes I am very interested in your Testore. Please email me on sermor@live.com

June 7, 2010 at 12:23 AM ·

Hi Lisa,


I am also interested in your Testore. Please feel free to email me at olgutza33@yahoo.com




September 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM ·

 Hey, good morning to all violinist.com users.

I've a wonderful, original, with certificate Testore Carlo Antonio 1766.

The sound is very generous on low tones and easy to play.

You can email me for details.

The price I ask is around 26.000 Euros. The certificate attributes a value around 40.000 (the Testore in perfect conditions and with certificate are estimated 100.000).

The instrument is in Cremona (Italy)

Ciao a tutti


January 8, 2011 at 08:14 AM ·

Hi there,

i'm very new to this site and wanted to ask someone for some help.  I live in rural Australia and haven't had the chance to head to a violin dealer for help.  I have this instrument and i have been trying to get someone's opinion of it for a while.  I have pictures of it that i can email.  the violin is a yellow brown with a slight shine to it though not very much.  It is labeled

'Carlo Antonio Teftore figlio maggiore

del fu Carlo Giufeppe in Contrada lar-

ga al fegno dell' Aquila Milano 1746'

it also has at the base of the neck, i think it is called the button there is a black stamp/brand of an eagle? and the initials C.A.T

The neck is grafted but it is not a straight cut it is more curved.  The 'F' holes are a little different and are rather thin thogh quite long.  the front has nicks and scratches though not that many.  the back has a wide(ish) grain. The back of the scroll is fluted.  Next to the label it has a number 7346, it looks newer that the label.


February 4, 2012 at 11:36 PM · I own a C A Testore 1749 .... can you send me some pictures to review?

February 5, 2012 at 09:02 PM · I just purchased a copy of a Testore and it sounds pretty good. Of course this has no bearing on the sound of a real Testore but I like the one I got.

P.S. Even though it sounds good, it's ugly as sin:)


February 6, 2012 at 02:38 AM · Go on Youtube and listen to some recordings of Mikhail Kopelman in his current quartet (the Kopelman Quartet), he's playing on a Testore in those videos (which he's still playing on today).


February 6, 2012 at 03:28 AM · Here is a pic, of it.

February 6, 2012 at 03:30 AM · Photobucket

Tomorrow I'll get to you about the tone after a bit more playing.


February 6, 2012 at 02:32 PM · The graduation is what it is a copy of I'd imagine. And I don't think it looks that different from Testore's but I have the violin and as you know, different lighting can make for a very different appearance. Now, on to the voice! but first, I really can't compare a violin right under my ear to something I can hear only on the net. Second, I paid a pittance for it so what I'm "comparing" cost probably about a 1/1000 of the real deal. Thirdly, I have no idea how close of a copy it is, although I'm inclined to think it should be pretty close given the business I'm dealing with. So, to begin with voice wise, this violin is LOUD. (at least to me) It doesn't really have a great range of color though. In other words its difficult to squeeze emotion out of it. This could all be due to the strings and the bridge though. Who knows.

All in all, for what I paid, I'm extremely pleased considering the fact that I bought it to sell and that I think that I will have no problem getting a good bit more than I paid for it. Anyone interested:)

TTFN, John

February 6, 2012 at 04:20 PM · His instruments do have an interesting shape.

Here is a comparison.


Sorry for how sloppy it is, horrible mouse.

March 7, 2012 at 08:29 AM · I want to sale the violin by Carlo Antonio Testore 1741, there is a great sounding, in good condition. What is the cost? gre4kosey@mail.ru


March 7, 2012 at 04:51 PM · Unfortunately, there's a small chance that yours is genuine. I would wager that it's actually a Hungarian instrument with a fake testore label. Your violin is about 130 plus years too new.

November 16, 2013 at 01:17 AM · hi!

why u think its a hungarian?

November 16, 2013 at 02:52 AM · a great Testore can be a top soloist instrument. a colleague of mine just bought one for 200k, and it sounds like a Guadignini. Fantastic instrument, worth every penny in terms of today's old-italian-violin prices.

November 16, 2013 at 06:43 AM · Greetings,

yes, there are a few examples I can recall of top players trading in their Strads etc. for Testore. Erich Gruenberg was one I think.



November 27, 2013 at 05:02 AM · I saw one in Australian shop.


November 27, 2013 at 06:18 AM · buy two and get a free kangaroo...

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