This argument is certainly very long to deal with, I will only give some guidance indications that can be an help especially to musicians, music lovers and parents of music students.
Giving value to old instruments, luthier’s services and other is an objective that Atelier Cesarini pursues from the beginning, the first step was to create a very detailed luthier price list of the most demanding services.
It was not a very first absolute, but certainly one of the first listprice to have a remarkable specificity, without leaving free interpretation.
Now let’s see which parameters are reliable to give a value to an bowed instrument or a bow, then we’ll try to figure out what we can buy with a certain budget.
Building a violin, a cello or a viola with personal shapes and dimensions is always the right choice for Atelier Cesarini. But there are exceptions, some works are certainly inspired by the well-known stradivarian shapes and by dimensions of antique violin makers (Amati, Guarneri, Gasparo da Salò). Perhaps the most used, in general in violin making, is the “Cremonese” violin template (faciebat Stradivari, year 1715).
The experimentation, of the various and possible forms of stringed instruments, has been widely done in the past years. Today it is difficult to reinvent something new in this sector.
The dimensions and volumes of classical lutherie have kept them unaltered, since the timbre of the instrument as it was conceived in the past, has been achieved following many empirical tests, which have fixed the sound canons in the ears of musicians and authors, who are past or modern.
It comes naturally to a classical orchestra musician, wanting to replicate the “sound” of a certain repertoire of the period, through an arched instrument that does not go too far from the known.
Conceiving sounds in an abstract and inventive way is a luxury that unfortunately does not belong to the classical repertoire (it is called “classic” also for this reason). The canons are there, getting out from those, can lead to the non-compatibility of the musician with this world.
Discovering a true antique violin from the 1800s or 1900s can be very interesting.
We need to consider that almost all the old musical instruments have now been undercovered, due to the strong interest of a multitude of people that want to take possession of them. So we need to be realistic when we find something, that maybe can have value. A real antique violin of 1800, for example, it can come real damaged, rarely in good condition, expecially the top spruce and varnish.
Be aware of flea markets, or not very transparent luthiers, who try to delude you of having a rediscovered a “pearl in the desert”, dated two hundred years. More plausible it is instead a violin that an old owner wants to undo it and then sells it, perhaps through an intermediary.
In the downer photo, the instrument in restoration, has just been rediscovered in an attic. This is a bit the clichet of classical lutherie: “Nonna told me that there is a Stradivari above!”.
It is not “Stradivari“, but a copy of an old German violin with a label bearing “Stradivarius Cremonensis, etc.”, is a copy, but it retains its interest. The woods of this instrument will certainly be very seasoned, even if a bit “bruised”. Finding it partly destroyed is the least that can be expected, we consider that almost a hundred years have passed, they are not few.
Atelier Cesarinibuy old violins and other antique instruments (also bows) during the year and we restore them. We call those “Cesarini Collection“.
False bow instruments and fake violins are circulating in Italy, with a non-real material value attributed to them. Violins and viole without an internal label, sold for the ancients of the ’40s and’ 50s, while in reality they are common entry level violins (Chinese or Romanian).
Accompanied by “artisan” bows of quality and suspicious veracity, given the low cost. Data collected from our customers, who came to us to solve the problem.
The sales value of the set in the picture, which serves as an example, is about 400.00-600.00$, price too low to be goods of quality.
If you are looking for an instrument on a low price line I highly recommend the music stores, at least you will also have the invoice and the guarantee.
A good old violin or viola it can cost from 800$ to 1500$, a good old cello between 1500$ to 3000$. A better old instrument can reach also higher values.
Remember that it can be really easy to do a false label, pay attention during your purchases.