Musings from the workbench of violin maker Andy Fein on makers, instruments, bows, musicians, and the joys of a life in the world of stringed instruments. Cameo appearances by the musicians on staff at Fein Violins.

You are watching: Are fake stradivarius violins worth anything

So, you think you found a Stradivarius?Unfortunately, YOU PROBABLY DID NOT FIND A STRADIVARIUS!
It probably is not a Stradivarius!
A real Stradivarius violin. You probably do not have one.
Even if the instrument has a Stradivarius label and has been in your family for generations, YOU PROBABLY DON"T HAVE A STRADIVARIUS!
First, Stradivarius was a real person (Antonius Stradivarius). He was born in Cremona, Italy in 1644 and he worked there until his death in 1737.If you have an instrument that is dated outside the timeline of Antonius Stradivarius"s life, it is not a Stradivarius. If you have an instrument that"s marked "Made in Germany" or "Made in Czechoslovakia", it"s definitely not a Stradivarius. Even if you have a violin that isn"t marked "Made in Germany" or "Made in Czechoslovakia" and even if the date is from the 1700s- YOU PROBABLY DON"T HAVE A STRADIVARIUS.
The "Messiah" Stradivarius. No, your "Stradivarius" does not look exactly like this.
In 1891 The McKinley Tariff Act was signed into law in the United States.The law stated that any items imported into the United States had to be labeled with the country of origin. In 1914 the act was revised to state that the label must include "made in." It is too bad the United States didn"t come up with this law during Antonius Stradivarius" life (Oh wait - in that time there wasn"t even a Declaration of Independence).So if you have an instrument that includes a country of origin, it is not a Stradivarius. Many "fake" Strads say "Made in Germany" - and none of these are an authentic Stradivarius.Back then, Stradivarius included on his labels his name, the Latin version of his city"s name, and the year it was made.
The pegbox & scroll from the "Messiah" Stradivarius. No, your violin does not look exactly like this
Where are the other 1,350 or so instruments? Most have been lost, broken or destroyed. Floods, fires, vandalism, theft, jealous lovers, hurricanes, wars and time have taken their toll. So maybe there is a very, very, very small chance that the Stradivarius labeled violin sitting in your atticreally isa Stradivarius... But probably not. How unlikely? You are more likely to be zapped by lightning while reading this You"re more likely to win the lottery AND be zapped by lightning while reading this Still here? Then you probably don"t have a Stradivarius.If you still think you have a Stradivarius, many violin shops offer an appraisal service. Take your instrument to an expert and expect to pay for an appraisal. Talk is cheap, knowledge costs money.
The "Hochstein" Stradivarius, made circa 1715. Your violin does not look exactly like this either
We offer appraisalsin our shop and online. Yes, we charge for appraisals. Update: Due to the pandemic, we are only doing appraisals online. We need to see a number of accurate pictures and measurements (that you would take for us). The cost of an online appraisal is $100.00. Those costs are a reflection of Andy"s time, experience, and expertise. We often get the question, "Well, how do I know if it"s worth appraising." The answer is, the cost does not reflect the potential value of the instrument. The cost reflects the value of the time, knowledge, and consultation you are receiving. So, the real question is, "Is it worth the cost To Youto find out about the instrument that you have?" Re-read this article. You might be able to save yourself some money and come to your own conclusion. For free!Do you "just want someone to take a look at it"? That would be calledan APPRAISAL.The costs are in the paragraph above. My joking answer to that question (which I"ve heard thousands of times!) is- " Just want me to "take a look at it"? That will be $200!" Currently, $100.00 is the cheapest evaluation service you"ll get from our shop.What"s the logical conclusion to all of the above information?-YOU PROBABLY DON"T HAVE A STRADIVARIUS.

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If you have read this far and still think you have a Stradivarius violin, will it help convince you otherwise if you read the same general information from theSmithsonian?The Smithsonian is our nation"s foremost museum and a great authority on many antiques, including supposed "Stradivarius" violins. Go ahead,read the article.Lastly, please don"t call us up and try to read the label to us. The label is probably fake and reading the label to us will not help us identify or evaluate your instrument. If you want to know about who made the violin and its value, please have itAPPRAISED!