1671 van Munster Violin
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $8,000 (1998)
$35,000 - $45,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:32)
Vice President & Department Head, Musical Instruments
GUEST: This was in a friend's antique shop. And I was looking through a chest of drawers that I was interested in, and I was opening the drawers, and this violin was in one of those drawers, all loose by itself. No case or anything. And it looked kind of plain, and I wasn't sure about it, but I purchased it.
APPRAISER: And you purchased it from them rather than the chest of drawers?
APPRAISER: That's great, and can I ask you what you paid for it?
GUEST: Uh, $500.
APPRAISER: $500. And about how long ago was this?
GUEST: This was in the '70s somewhere.
APPRAISER: So about 20 years ago. Well, you've got a good eye.
GUEST: Thank you.
APPRAISER: We see a lot of instruments, we see a lot of funny and misattributed violins. And this violin right here is labeled by a maker by the name of van Munster, van Munster, in Amsterdam in 1671. And in fact it's absolutely right. It's 100%. This is in fact Dutch work from Amsterdam, and retaining its true label. And there's a lot of ways to identify that, barring the label, because the labels are always the last thing we look at. It's classic Dutch work in the sense of the way the F holes are cut. They are very serpentine in their shape, and they're sort of standing up sort of very proudly, tiny little lobes right here. Another hallmark of Dutch work is the purfling. And the purfling is this sort of decorative inlay that runs around the violin. The Dutch invariably used whalebone, laminates of baleen whalebone, inlaid into the back, which is very flexible. If we look at this under a loupe, we can see that, that it's in fact whalebone. Classic Dutch varnish, the wonderful red shade. Oftentimes Dutch makers would rival the Italians. Wonderful, terrific work. Also the scroll, this tiny little volute sitting on top of a very large head, again, classic Amsterdam work. A lot of people say, "Well, where did these Amsterdam makers learn their trade?" Amsterdam, an economic center, a center of literature and culture in the 17th century. They got a chance to see great Italian makers, great Italian instruments from Cremona, and I'm sure they were copying, which this one is. It's a great fiddle. I think on the market today, this one in this condition, I'm going to say between $6,000 and $8,000.
GUEST: A lot more than I thought. Great.
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