Antiques are defined as items that are at least 100 years old. A violin that is 100 years old is an antique, while violins made in the last century are either newly made or are vintage instruments. Fake antique violins can be difficult to spot, so some con artists try to sell newly made ones as antiques. Identifying a fake is crucial if you want to avoid paying a high price for a lowly replica.
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Look for signs of ageing. Antique violins will have noticeable signs of ageing to the wood. Even a well -maintained violin will have marks and other signs of wear and tear after centuries of use. Look for even small signs of ageing, such as wood discolouration or finger marks from use.
Study antique violins. Learn about the special details of particular violins. Keep in mind that some older antique violins will have slightly different designs than newer violins, which will help in recognising authenticity.
Read the label. According to Michael Hogben, antique specialist and auctioneer, labels that are clearly marked as “after” or “in the style of” are a clear indication of replicas rather than real antiques.
Closely examine the label. The label of an antique will show wear and ageing like the rest of the violin. Also, look for handwritten labels. A typed label is a clear indication that the violin is a replica, not an antique.
Look at the bow. Quality antique violins were sold with quality bows. The bow is often as good an indication of the violin’s value as the violin itself. Keep in mind, however, that owners will sometimes change the bow over the course of hundreds of years, so a great antique bow might be paired with a factory violin.
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