Genuine or just a copy of Laurentius Guadagnini violin

April 25, 2013 at 02:04 PM · I saw a violin at an antique store just now. It has the label Laurentius Guadagnini fecit placentiae anno 1746 on it. The seller told me it's a very rare and old violin. He's selling it for only $100 so I bought it. I'm wondering whether this is a genuine one or just a copy.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Replies (25)

April 25, 2013 at 03:12 PM · Good catch!

Does not look like a genuine Guad, but more like a Bohemian type of violin.

Find a reputable appraiser and aks for verbal appraisal.

EDIT: I agree with Bruce. Make sure it is not stolen before you invest more money in it. It sounds too good to be true.

April 25, 2013 at 03:29 PM · Looks a bit like a Matthias Thir or Leopold Widhalm, but I am no expert. You might wish to check stolen instrument lists, or local police.

April 25, 2013 at 03:48 PM · Yes, a great buy! Doesn't look anything like any Guad I've ever seen, but probably a nice old German, Bohemian or Tyrolean violin. Just from the front and back views, I'm getting a sense of high arching - am I right? If so, all the more likely, something Germanic. But never mind - you got a really great buy. If there are no major cracks I'd imagine it to be worth a few thousand. Mind you, I'm not a real appraiser - I just play one on tv!

April 26, 2013 at 03:25 AM · Well... it wouldn't be even if it was, in this case. :-)

It's been pretty convincingly shown, through archival documentation, that Lorenzo Guadagnini wasn't a violin maker. Duane Rosengard covered this research very systematically in his book on the Guadagnini family a decade and a half ago.

Most instruments previously thought to be by Lorenzo have been identified as by Lorenzini, the Mantegazzas, or J. B. Guadagnini.

I'd say that this isn't one of those. I don't think it's quite old enough, and not Italian, by the look of things (Bruce, I'd expect a L. Widhalm to look much more "Stainer-ish").

April 26, 2013 at 04:45 AM · The shop owner said he has no knowledge of violin. He said he found this violin in a box in his garage. It sounds beautiful - dark, warm, clear and rich.

[EDIT] I went to the police just now to check and this violin was not in the list. I'm planning to send it to Florian Leonhard Fine Violins to check if this violin is real and get it certified. It has a few small repaired cracks but I want Florian Leonhard to check whether they are strong enough and it sounds exactly it is supposed to be. I also want it to be varnished.

April 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Oh right, I also heard that re Lorenzo. But Stephanie, it's your violin of course, to do with as you wish - but please reconsider getting it re-varnished. Why would you want to do that? Cleaned and polished, fine - especially by someone competent, as I'm sure Leonard is. Maybe a better bridge, nicer fittings as per your taste. But why re-varnished? It looks nice in the photos, and you'd be reducing its value.

April 26, 2013 at 05:42 PM · "as to winning the lottery, I think you only got 5 out of 6 numbers right!!!"

For $100, looks like she may have done better than that.

April 27, 2013 at 03:38 PM · I was just wondering about the photo of your new violin; did you take it yourself?

What did you use as a stand? I can't quite see...

April 28, 2013 at 10:18 AM · Edit: Oops..

April 28, 2013 at 05:34 PM · I am a little bit concerned about all estimated prices made by violin shops and luthiers. You can have a beautiful sounding german violin, but in reality noone will give you much more than 3000 for it, if sold private. And that would even be lucky.

You can see on ebay (yes I know thats special), that there are a lot violins going under 300 and look quite ok. If a violin looks more than ok, it will maybe go around one thousand. It is quite unusual to see very much more in an auction there, even if instruments are potentially good to resell.

So if your violin maker tells you its "worth" 3000. Then ask him if he wants to buy it for 2500 instantly... I bet he wouldn't.

At least its just a piece of wood and all this prizings are so much connected to phantasies.

Anyway congratulation on buying a quite healthy looking violin for so little money. But don't invest too much money, because the actual sell price can be around 300 aswell. Or you have to wait for years until someone will pay you what its "actually" worth.

And seriously: don't get it revanished, its not a car!

April 28, 2013 at 07:36 PM · "I am a little bit concerned about all estimated prices made by violin shops and luthiers. You can have a beautiful sounding german violin, but in reality noone will give you much more than 3000 for it, if sold private. And that would even be lucky.

...So if your violin maker tells you its "worth" 3000. Then ask him if he wants to buy it for 2500 instantly... I bet he wouldn't.

At least its just a piece of wood and all this prizings are so much connected to phantasies. "

I tend to agree Simon.

I don't know very much about violins, but I do know quite a bit about guitars.

Even knowing as much as I do about them, I would never buy a guitar that I haven't played.

I found it rather strange when the shop tech guy told me he could appraise a violin without needing to play it.

I don't know about you, but I don't care who made the violin (save from a Strad or Guarneri possibly). I want to play it first to hear how it sounds.

If the store tells me it costs $50,000 but it doesn't sound good to me, I wouldn't buy it, even if they reduced the price to $5,000.

April 28, 2013 at 10:18 PM · Lyndon I meant noname german violins. YOu know that stuff wich can sound good, but have not much proof of value.

And yes I am painting it black. I like some contrast, even if it lacks logic. And yes I am not familiar with the violinbusiness as a seller, but I know as a potential buyer, that one has to be very careful and that the prices in shops can have a certain amount of fantasy included.

As mentioned above: the sound is important for the player. But on the other hand instrumentalists treat an instrument somehow different if they are told its a strad... and they hear different too. So much is psychology. I just recently read an article about an "mental illness", that if you read about side symtoms you actually get them. Its all psychosomatic (if this word exists outside of germany).

April 29, 2013 at 03:10 AM · Lyndon, I don't think you understood me (at least I hope you didn't :) )

Let's start with your last statement and work backwards:

"Its kinda like making a statement "you can't sell a $250,000 1959 Les Paul guitar for more than $5,000 hence that's all its worth" complete rubbish"

If people can't sell a "$250,000" 1959 for more than $5,000 then that *is* what it's worth ($5,000).

"A reasonable, acheivable price for a privately sold violin would be about 50% of what it sells for in a store(wholesale) not 10%, "

I would agree with this statement.

"obviously these comments are coming from people not familiar with the violin business."

It's not that I am not familiar with the violin business, it's that I was talking about purchasing a violin, not selling one.

In other words, because I am not familiar with a violin's net worth (just by inspection) and because I am not in the buying-selling business, I wouldn't buy a violin that normally sells for $50,000 for $25,000.

There simply would be too much risk for me.

For all I know the violin is really a "$20,000" violin. And for all I know, I won't be able to sell it for $30,000 or $35,000 etc. etc.

At this point, I am very much still a violin player, not an investor or businessman. So the only thing I'm interested in is how the violin sounds.

April 29, 2013 at 07:25 AM · Some, and note I said some, violin shops, will appraise and value an instrument without hearing it, often when it's without a bridge and strings. I've seen them do it. They also take in brand new instruments from known makers which are on sale for £8,000+ without having any idea how these instruments sound. Often they sound terrible and I wouldn't (in their present set up) give them £800 for them, but then sound is imortant to me.

I did know of a very well respected and fine British maker who made one (to my knowledge) bad sounding fiddle, although it looked fantastic, but the price had come down by about 60% in a dealers shop in London. Some friends tried to have it re-set up, but nothing made any improvement.

Interesting? Lyndon and others may like to comment on this?

April 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM · Fascinating story Lyndon!

Good find.

I took note that the "$100 violin" bidding went as follows:

Starting price: US $49.00

1st bid: US $560.00

Winning bidder: US $3,300.00

Now we must be careful about what we read here and who is doing the posting. :)

Perhaps we can finally answer Stephanie's original question?

"Genuine or just a copy of Laurentius Guadagnini violin?"

Any appraisers here have an idea?

I saw a Christie's, London auction price for one at: 60-80,000 lbs.

April 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM · Mr. Hound's claim sounds fishy to me too - one doesn't need to hack into an account to take the content of an old ad... Also, I would be hesitant to do business with someone whose eBay account can be hacked into easily... I hope he reports the incident to the authority - apparently several laws have been broken here.

April 30, 2013 at 02:25 AM · Mark wrote: "Perhaps we can finally answer Stephanie's original question? Genuine or just a copy of Laurentius Guadagnini violin?"

I believe that question was already answered. Have you read all the previous posts? ...and though he wasn't far off, unlike Raphael, I am a real appraiser AND I've played one on tv. :-)

April 30, 2013 at 02:50 AM · Cool! Can I be an understudy? :-)

April 30, 2013 at 03:18 AM · Only if you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, Raphael! :-)

April 30, 2013 at 03:20 AM · "I believe that question was already answered. Have you read all the previous posts? ...and though he wasn't far off, unlike Raphael, I am a real appraiser AND I've played one on tv. :-) "

Thanks Jeffrey, they have this feature here that sometimes trips me up. They only show the last few posts instead of all of them. :)

May 1, 2013 at 03:29 PM · Thanks for some fine detective work, Lyndon. Regarding the hack job on my account: When I returned from Skinner on Sunday night, I could not access my ebay account as my saved password was no longer active. I immediately changed the password again; the second time in a month. I also changed my Paypal password, etc. Nothing appears to have been compromised. However, recently, before and after the first password change, I had been forwarded bogus second chance offers, received by my bidders for my confirmation. I reported all this to ebay. I don't quite understand the hows and whys, but I tend to doubt the hack job and the bogus listing were connected. More likely they were coincidental.

I also don't know if the bogus listing had anything to do with the OP of this thread. I don't know much, I guess, but the same violin and listing has been copied verbatim several times by different sellers and reported to ebay each time that I was made aware of it.

There is a lot of fraud on ebay, in the form of copied listings and bogus merchandise. I am not sure why the OP decided to post their fake story here, and cannot decipher their motive other than to sucker someone into making them an offer for the violin?


May 4, 2013 at 10:17 AM ·

there will always be a a sucker who'll pay for an item that will never be provided, (think like a nigerian scammer)...a picture is a convincing enticement to hand over the money.

May 5, 2013 at 04:42 PM · Unfortunately, EBAY doesnt do enough in these matters. For example, almost all of the biggest Chinese violin sellers on EBAY engage in illegal shill bidding to up the price, and I've definitely proven this and provided the info to EBAY, yet they did nothing. You'll see the same handles bid on the same violins, but not quite get it "high enough", and then the same violin will be relisted two weeks later = rinse, repeat shill bid process until it eventually sells at an "acceptable" price.

May 5, 2013 at 04:45 PM · To delve into the "appraisal" questions a bit more from the 3 provided pictures, could someone explain how you can tell it's genuinely quality and legitimately of 18th century age just from the pictures here?

I've seen amazing modern antiquing jobs, and I dont know enough to know how you could tell 1796 from 1996 just from the two violin pictures provided, but I'd like to know what those that do have this knowledge, look for. The third picture (of the label) does seem to show an age of patina to it, but can that be "faked" as well?

May 5, 2013 at 07:38 PM · Yes, but what are some of the things you look for is my question? You and others believed it was legitimate even prior to the EBAY pics as well.

I'm very interested in learning about the woodwork and identification aspects of the instrument that I find even people who've played for years have little knowledge of. Sometimes people will look at a violin and have an idea or are confident that it came from a certain school and/or part of world, and I'd like to know how. I would love to learn, but I dont even know of any books about the subject of that would facilitate the process of learning.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine