1952 Anders Halvarson Violin
This violin belonged to my aunt, my father's sister. She was a Roman Catholic nun for 20 years when she was very young and she played the violin in the convent. Family legend says that she was very good, but at some point her superiors told her that she could no longer play and that she needed to teach, so she shut the violin case at that time and put it under the bed, where it stayed for almost 50 or 60 years, I would guess, until she passed away. I tried at one point to get her to play at my wedding, but she would not, and I'd never even seen it until after she passed away.
Did she actually play in a convent orchestra?
She played in a convent orchestra, and I hear that she played in Carnegie Hall, but I don't know all the details on that end of things, but I hear that she was very good.
One would have to be very good to play at Carnegie Hall.
That's what I hear.
What area was she from originally?
Michigan, okay. It was made by Anders Halvarson of Meyers-Halvarson. Halvarson actually is... In the history of American violin makers, he's not that well known. Halvarson came from Sweden in 1923 and worked at one of the major Chicago violin shops, which was William Lewis & Son, and there he worked under Carl Becker Sr. and Jr. Carl Becker Sr. is pretty much acknowledged to be one of the greatest American makers of the 20th century, so he had excellent instruction under Becker and his son. He bought first-quality wood and made instruments in the basement of this house, and he was extremely industrious. He had a very beautiful, even, orange varnish that he applied by hand, and although there are a couple of scratches in the top, they can easily be retouched. Turning the violin, we can see a beautiful flamed maple back, and this is first-quality wood that Halvarson probably bought in Germany during the late '30s or maybe even the early '50s. It's hard to tell, but it's a one-piece back, and it has extremely deep flames, and it's a very lightweight maple that comes from the Balkan Peninsula, and that's the first-quality maple for violin making. He also had a very beautiful method of carving the scrolls by hand, and these are done with a series of chisels that correspond to the different curves of the scroll, so he used a different-sized chisel to cut each of the turns of the scroll. Now, if we look inside of the violin, we can see the label that says "Meyers-Halvarson," and it's a very understated label. And he worked in this area of Nashville, Michigan, I think because the area was very well supported by the auto industry, so there was a lot of money that supported classical music. So, he turned out to be one of the major American makers of the 20th century. Because of the violin's quality and because of the relative rarity of these instruments, I would place the value of this violin between $4,000 and $6,000.
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