Is a violin certificate a guarantee that all parts of my violin are by the same maker?

If your certificate states that the violin is by a named maker “in all important parts”, it means that the front’ the back, the ribs and the scroll are by that maker. From the point of view of appraisal or valuation, this means that the violin is classed as 100% by that maker.

What parts of my violin might not be original, and does it matter?

‘Non-important’ parts (from the point of view of authenticity and value) are the neck stock (since on older violins the neck stock has almost always been replaced), the bassbar (since it’s almost impossible to determine if it’s been replaced by a previous owner, and since the replacement wouldn’t be regarded as detrimental), and the interchangeable ebony parts or other elements of the set-up. Sometimes inner blocks get replaced, and it can be impossible to establish this, but certificates rarely engage with this issue.

Might my violin have a replacement scroll?

Even if the neck stock has been replaced the scroll should be original for the violin to be ‘by’ a named maker. If the scroll is not original the certificate should say this.

What does ‘workshop’ of or ‘circle of’ mean on a violin certificate?

If there’s a question as to whether the violin was made entirely by the maker named or in part or entirely by a co-worker or apprentice, the certificate would state ‘workshop of’, even if the maker didn’t operate a workshop as such. If the violin is obviously by a close associate but in some way inconsistent (lacking a brand for instance), the certificate might describe it as ‘circle of”.

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