Fiddleheads.ca Technique Advice and FAQs
I am at a loss for information. Where do you find out about violin types?
For example, I found a violin with a paper inside the violin calling it a "Coscani." How do i find out anything about it. Value or worth, history, made of or from. I not sure whether to buy it but would like more information to make an informed decision.
Thank you for your email. I do hope I serve you exceptionally well and earn your business.
In a nutshell, there is no way to be sure of an old or rare violin label's authenticity unless you have it appraised by a few appraisers, of which there are not very many that can really be absolutely certain. Note you need to pay for such evaluations.
Even then there is a lot of fraud as there is a lot of money to be made in selling valuable instruments. A man recently took his own life after being exposed for selling fiddles he'd picked up at flea markets for hundreds of thousands of dollars (click here to read the article). It's really bad and gives all violin sellers a bad name.
As for your question of a source to research violins: You can lookup the past auction prices on violins at Maestronet (though I did not see this violin on there). Again, you cannot be sure if the label in this violin is fake or not. Many unreputable dealers will put a fake label in a violin to boost the value, and many of these labels are so convincing. I have written a few articles on the subject:
What's a buyer to do? Well, I strongly suggest you work with a dealer who works to be transparent in all dealings and who will give you the information you seek.
Myself, I got into selling violins for a few reasons: Mainly to provide a trusted source for my own violin students (then the business took off and I serve the public) but also so I could offer the best possible prices without unfair markup and, finally, because I know the source of the new violins I buy and if the violin is used I will never lie about the authenticity.
Which is why I will say "Strad Copy" or simply say what the label reads and will tell customers I very highly doubt it is original. I mean, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Again, if you like to make informed decisions in your violin purchase, and especially if you are looking to spend a lot of money, it really is best to work with someone you can trust. If this violin you are looking at is selling at a pawn shop for $50 you are not taking a huge risk (though I have seen some nasty violins not worth $50!!). In the end it is about what you are comfortable with.
All the best for your music and we hope our shop will earn your business.