From the Preface.
The newspaper items one sees now and then about the exorbitant prices of old violins has befogged the public mind on the subject, so that people generally believe that it is necessary to spend a small fortune in order to secure one of these old instruments. That this is an entirely erroneous impression we are prepared to demonstrate, and that too, in the most effective manner by offering good old violins at prices ranging from $25, $50 and $75, upward. Primarily a violin should be made on a good model, the quality of the varnish should be good also, but above all the tone quality must be satisfactory, otherwise the instrument has little or no value in either an artistic or commercial sense. Now the ideal tone quality is found only in an old violin, and if the purchaser is secure on this point, his investment is a safe one, as the instrument with proper care is bound to increase in value with the lapse of years. In the following pages will be found descriptions and prices of the greatest collection of old instruments - Violins, Cellos, Violas and Basses - ever offered the American public. A very important feature of this catalogue is the Historical Sketch of violin making and violin makers which precedes the catalogue proper. We consider that a knowledge of Violin literature is essential to the student and dilettante, particularly when contemplating the purchase of an instrument. We have not mentioned all the makers of the different schools, but the reader will find all the really important names of the violin-making world, and for the less important makers, as also for more elaborate biographical sketches, we beg to refer him to the works named in the last pages of this catalogue. If the perusal of these pages will enable the prospective purchaser to obtain a better idea of the relative values of old instruments, so that the interested "expert" or dealer will not be able to work off" modern stock as genuine old instruments, a custom only too common in this country, particularly in the East, as is forcibly illustrated by the records of a recent trial in the Courts of New York City, - all of which we very much deplore - we shall feel amply repaid for the time spent in its compilation, and believe with the Latin poet, "Finis Coronat Opus." Should the reader be in doubt as to the value or genuineness of an old violin in which he may be interested, we will be happy to answer any questions addressed to us, and we invite inspection of our own collection by all who are interested in the subject.show more