Italian Violin; Caressa & Francais Bow (French)
This violin belonged to my Great-Aunt Marie, who's pictured over here. She was a violinist in the Cincinnati area in Ohio. She moved out here and brought this one with her along with several others, and it's just basically been sitting in storage for 40 years.
And this violin was bought for her by her father. So here we have a bill of sale from the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in Cincinnati, September 27, 1921. Rudolph Wurlitzer attests that this violin is a Camillus Camilli from 1737 made in Mantua, Italy, for the tremendous sum of $1,000 back in 1921. I'm not going to say it's in tough shape, because all of these things can be cleaned up. But the strings are broken. Because the strings are made out of gut, I can tell it really hasn't been played for at least 30 or 40 years. The workmanship on it is very, very fine, and we see a lot of details that speak of the Mantua school of making. Now, Mantua was only about a half a day's stagecoach ride from the great city of Cremona, where Stradivarius worked. So the makers of Mantua were very influenced by Stradivarius and almost equaled his level of work in the later 18th century. You have a very fine spruce top that's carved to a, a very flat and full arch, and that's very much the powerful Mantua style, creates a beautiful sound that projects very, very far. We look at the detail on the back and sides. The first thing that struck me was the type of wood used in the back. These curls in it denote the species that is known as oppio in Northern Italy, and it grows only in Northern Italy. Done very, very closely in the Italian style. It's a little bit rugged. We see some texture on the surface from the tool marks. It's a very high-quality violin, but it's not Camilli. It is a very fine forgery. They try to attend to every detail in it, right down to the label, which reads "Camillus Camilli fecit, Mantua, 1737," and it's written in Latin. And we can also see that it has a certain registration number that corresponds to the Wurlitzer Company certificate, and it's certified as number 3210 in their catalogue. But this violin, being a very fine fake, still has some value, and that value at an auction sale was between $6,000 to $8,000. The bow's in really rough shape. But as we take it out, we see that it's made of very fine Pernambuco wood. It's a French bow. That stamp under a magnifying glass is just barely discernible. But it says "Caressa and Français, Paris." And Caressa and Français was a very fine shop in Paris which employed a lot of French bow makers who were the best of their time. We know by two things who the maker of this bow was. First by this ferrule, has a very rounded front. And the other detail is that the very front has a very definite style that only one maker employed, and that maker was Claude Thomassin, and he was one of the top makers of the 20th century. The value of the bow is about the same as the value of the violin.
And that is about $6,000 to $8,000.
If it were a real Camillus Camilli, it would be worth about $250,000 to $300,000.
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.
Summer Night Concerts
Relax with four amazing concerts from the Vienna Philharmonic and special guests.