This is a fine early Collin-Mézin violin in excellent condition, and with a characteristically bold and rich sound.

Collin-Mézin is probably one of the best known names in the violin trade. Although the firm went rather downhill in the 20th century, pre-1900 violins by Collin-Mézin Senior are very sought after, partly because they represent the best in Mirecourt workmanship, partly because they are always successful tonally.

This early example is outstanding in every way. It’s from the 1880s and yet in excellent condition. It’s a great size (later models had a tendency to be over-large), and the original varnish is beautifully preserved. The fingerboard bears the Hill number 2848.

There is one small wing crack to the treble f-hole, otherwise no cracks or repairs.

For the record, there is some minimal damage to the lower treble f-hole and the lower right back has some wear, probably from a player’s brooch – this has been well retouched.

Collin-Mézins are popular for a reason. This one is about as good as they get, a flat-arched Strad model of ideal proportions with a well-balanced sound, big, open and fruity. It has great response even with a light bow, and it manages to be bright and zingy without sacrificing any of the dark core in the lower register. It’s very even, offering the same response and breadth of sound throughout the register – no wolf notes, no weak notes, no pokey notes. In other words, just a great violin!

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