I started a thread in November on an A.W. Kaufmann (1904) violin I was considering buying (http://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=801) and also posted some pictures (https://www.flickr.com/gp/9623061@N06/Z05q3M). I wanted to close-out the discussion, thank those who participated (@duane @lyndon) and leave the result out there for others to discover in the future.
The luthier A.W. Kaufmann worked in San Jose, CA in the early 1900's (1900-1921). There is some debate about whether he was a talented amateur (as indicated in the Wemberg book) or whether he was a professional who worked on a limited set of instruments. In fact, it looks like only 1-2 of Kaufman's instruments have ever been sold at auction, according to a web search. A more well-known American luthier, Alfred Lanini, bought Kaufman's San Jose workshop (591 E. St. James Street) in 1914.
In the Bay Area, Rolland Feller (in SF) has seen 2-3 of Kaufmann's violins come through his shop. The Ifshin Violin team has seen a handful of these instruments as well. Most people note the unusual script on the violin label, which has a color(!) picture of the luthier (I think) and reads:
"Made from the body of a daughter of the forest and given a voice by the hands of a son of the mother whose praises I shall ever sing."
Others who are familiar with Kaufmann note the red-hued finish of his violins, which in person I find to be really beautiful.
So, to close my story, I bought the violin. :-) I (and my fellow testers) really enjoy the warm overall sound and the lower registers are uniquely warm. The violin projects extremely well and its clear tone was notable to me among the 25+ violins I have auditioned recently. The violin I bought is in great shape - I ended up buying it at $9K (Ifshin appraises it at $9.5K), which was the range I wanted and I guess that sets the market price given the fact that there are no other buyers or sellers of whom I am aware.
Now, I'm off to audition bows. The whole setup sounds great with a Nurnberger bow I'm kicking around as well as a Cuniot-Hury bow.
So, that's a long-winded way to close out my earlier thread. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps someone who runs across a Kaufmann violin in the future and wants to know a bit more.
Happy New Year, all.
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