I found a thread similar to this in Maestronet from a decade ago, but it was incomplete in certain regards which could be helpful for consumers and players.
In the violin market there are more facsimiles and trade names from companies that didn't make, but rather imported violins, than there are true luthier crafted instruments. This is a fact of life and even though it would be great to own a master instrument, many of these innumerable non-master instruments form a large part of who we are as players: for one they're affordable, and they often play very nicely and are well made by the hands of skilled, albeit anonymous, craftsmen.
I don't think I'm alone in wanting to be more resourceful in obtaining information regarding origins; and this would add a level of appreciation to mid-market, semi-professional quality violins, rather than having our necks stuck upward gazing at the price tags of wooden boxes which exceed most annual salaries.
Obtaining specific information about unlabeled, facsimile or trade-named instruments is a long shot, and the violin I just purchased which has prompted this will probably fall into this category, but for those who know and have expertise (professional, or relative to the majority of us), this forum seems like a welcome place to share knowledge and resources-- not just the trade names, but what import companies were out there employing makers from Europe, and is it possible to know who was making what? And, at that, where could we find information related to this so we could go down this rabbithole ourselves?
Because I expect that the violin I personally have questions about will be of very limited concern to the general public, I wanted to make this very open ended. However, if anyone can provide information regarding the following, I would VERY much appreciate that, and perhaps the subsequent line of thinking could help other owners and prospective buyers regarding the origin of their violins.
This violin is beautiful, which I could go on about, the purfling, the rich, dark varnish (not a shiny fiddle) the well executed arching and one piece back and distinctive bouts and thin neck... on and on, and it's a joy to play--true character, volume, and responsiveness all the way up and down.
That being said, the label is basic, and isn't consistent with the pride most luthiers would put into their work- it has nothing besides the name, place and date, which seems odd. The name is August Kniezel instrumentmacher saiten in Vienna 1906 (I probably misspelled and misplaced something there I'm not looking at the instrument). Not much information (almost none) is available about this "maker", so obviously this isn't a copy.
I've found a cpl listings which don't match up to my instrument, and an online appraisal recommending, in name alone, that a violin by this maker be sold for between $300-500, referencing an online auction for a violin by this name. This inconsistency is a very curious thing. Notwithstanding how poor that appraisal was, in spirit and professionalism, it doesn't match up to what I own. The spruce was carefully selected, the f-holes cut precisely and elegantly, the purfling inlaid and close to the edges, a vague tool mark appears here and there on the scroll and the edge of the purfling along the lower bouts, such that the instrument does not feel mass produced. I also found a picture of an instrument bearing a Kniezel label which looked nothing like mine-- it was basic, decent wood, but nothing elegant.
I expect there never to have been an August Kniezel, but whoever made this violin crafted a charming instrument and if I can find anything out about this name and the corresponding operations it would only deepen my appreciation, and maybe the method of discovering a mystery maker would assist others. Thanks for any help refining this topic, and more specifically regarding my violin!
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