Andrew Linden, UK

A Fine Italian Violin by Giuseppe Baldantoni, Ancona circa 1940

Dec 2013
Thank you for all your guidance and encouragement in helping me to acquire the Giuseppe Baldantoni.

I started my search for a violin at Mondomusica in Cremona this September, looking for an instrument to enjoy playing in my retirement which would also be an excellent “alternative” investment.

Whilst there seem to be several dealers in the market selling top end instruments with great tone and playing qualities, I soon realised how difficult it was to match the player’s perspective with good investment potential for the long term benefit of my family. As a lawyer I am inherently cautious, but I quickly came to appreciate that a buyer of a fine Italian violin needs to be very cautious.

Our first meeting in your fascinating “`Violin Lodge” in Peebles was very enlightening. You advised me to restrict my search to Italian instruments in excellent condition and with reliable certificates, since these were always in demand and commanded the best prices.

I immediately felt I could place my trust in you to locate some violins which might fit my criteria, both in relation to the playing and tone qualities we identified together, and also in relation to condition, provenance, and certification. Uniquely amongst dealers I had visited, you took the time to discuss the genres of music I play and tone qualities I seek as a player, and I found this really refreshing.

This is a complex and sometimes bewildering marketplace which is not for the fainthearted!! I appreciate the patience with which you answered my many queries and concerns in relation to specific makers and their reputation.

I have played many beautiful violins over the last 3 months ranging from a Stradavarius and a Guadagnini to Pressenda and Scarampella, most of which were way beyond my budget!! I also played beautiful composite instruments by Grancino and Gagliano which were almost within budget but which didn’t reflect as good an investment potential. Therefore to finish up finding a violin which is every bit as good to play as any of the above, within my budget (“just”), which also has fabulous certificates to accompany it, is a real thrill.

What made the experience so pleasurable was that you approached every hurdle with the enthusiasm of a friend, emailing me from all over Europe to inform me of violins you had played or seen on my behalf, even bringing a fine Postiglione back from Vienna to compare with the Baldantoni I eventually bought.

I am incredibly pleased with my ultimate choice. As I have already said to you, my only minor regret is that the search is now over as I was getting so much fun from it! At least we still have a good bow to find…

As you know I have already recommended you to a close friend to seek your advice on the possible disposal of a violin, and I will have no hesitation in recommending you to friends and fellow musicians in the future.
Andrew Linden

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