1877 Charles Francis Albert Violin
I'm thrilled you brought me this violin. It is from my favorite American violin maker, Charles Albert. They call him C.F. Albert-- Charles Francis Albert-- and he was born in Freiburg, Germany, in the 1840s... 1842, actually. Immigrated to New York in 1865 and then settled in Philadelphia a couple of years later. He was certainly the foremost American violin maker of his time.
And this one's typical of his work using American wood. Do you have any idea who this lady is?
I really don't know.
Neither do I. I've never seen this particular lady before. It could be a relative. It could be a famous actress. We don't really know but it's very nicely done. He made this violin in 1877 for the Paris exposition in 1878. And here is the medal from that exposition. And here, in fact, is Albert's name on the medal. It's incredible that it's remained with the violin all this time. I've never actually seen an exposition medal remaining with a violin for over a hundred years. I imagine it remained with the violin because it's part of your family all this time.
Can you tell me about the history?
Sure. Well, we always knew the violin was special because of the carved head and because the medal was in the box with it. The violin got passed on to my grandmother by this lady. This was my mother's aunt, Laura. Her father made the violin. And this is her sister, Amy, and her brother is Charles Albert, son of the maker of the violin that you have there.
This was made in the French style. And I imagine he did it in this style because he was going to be in front of French judges. And this is the type of style used in the second half of the 19th century by French makers. And here, he's trying to reproduce the 16th-century Brescian Italian style by doing these purfled arabesques on the back. American violins don't bring a lot of money yet, but I think this violin, if you were to see it for sale in a shop, would bring somewhere in the $3,000 range, perhaps $3,500.
Wow, that's great.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love