After years of complaining about the violins I already play on, my teacher has sourced a ‘better’ violin for me. I have in my hot little hands an instrument I have been told has been made in France, in 1741. The label (which is probably not worth reading) inside reads thus:
Joannes Baptista Guadagnini
fecit Parmae ferviens
To the right there is a circle with G.B.G or similar and some unusual symbols. Obviously it's a copy of something, but what I don't know.
I have done an internet search on the label and have come across some with the same label for sale or sold by somewhat reputable auction houses, however they are largely marketed as instruments made in the 1900’s in the workshop of G. Apparut, in France, for between 2500 to 6000 dollars.
This makes more sense because the instrument shows hardly any wear and tear, certainly not enough to be 272 years old. It has a decent tone, much nicer than the instruments I already play, and is very responsive. The top is fine grain wood, a single panel back with nice flame both on back and sides. The only repair I can see is where someone obviously overtightened a centre mount chinrest and has cracked the varnish (golden brown) a little. (it bears a side mount at the moment). It has been rather thickly varnished, (or maybe extra varnish added) to the back and sides, but I think the top has been largely untouched. There is no sound post crack on either side, yet, but if I hold it up to the light I can see the merest beginnings of a stress mark in the top where the sound post is.
The reason I am confused is because while it seems to be a decent instrument, it’s obviously not made in 1741, even to my layman’s eyes. But my teacher seems happy to suggest that it was made then and that it’s a real bargain. It’s being offered to me at $8,500.00 hard earned Aussie bucks. I like it, but don’t want to pay that much if it isn’t worth it. Does anybody know of these instruments and if so, are they all rubbish, or are there some that are relatively good?
If anyone can give advice to help me decide how to deal with this it would be much appreciated.
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