dating a label

keld's picture

This is my first post. I am trying to include a picture by using the insert image link. I hope it worked. It did not show up in the preview.

I would be very appreciative for any ideas of the approximate age of this label. I notice the text is different from the background, and the background is not plain as I would have expected but dotted upon close magnification, whereas the text is solid by comparison. Thank you for your thoughts.

oldnick's picture

The text says 1789, but there appears to be halftone screening above the type suggests that it would have to date no earlier than around 1870.

brockfrench's picture

I'm guessing the pattern is a texture from applying the label to the surface rather than a print. Is this on a piece of furniture? What is it? Where is it from? Is it inside a violin?

russellm's picture

Giuseppe Guadagnini made violins in the 1700's.

JamesM's picture

Looks like a halftone screen to me too, which would suggest it's a reproduction label.

Also the handwritten "89" appears to be the same color as the printed text, which might suggest it's a reproduction with everything printed using the same brown ink, although that in itself wouldn't be conclusive.

keld's picture

Good responses all. Thanks.
Yes this is from my favourite violin. If it were a Guiseppe Guadagnini it would be worth minimum 6 figures. (His father's are upwards of $1,000,000). The complete label on this violin suggests an apprentice to Guiseppe, Felice Beretta which would fetch $50,000. The luthier friend who sold it to me is truly convinced it is a genuine label, but I had my doubts based on the style of the violin and I bought it as an unknown fake strictly for the sound at a dirt cheap price.
Oldnick, I have heard the term halftone before (but as a non print person remembered the phrase as half duplex - no wonder I couldn't get any decent info).
The interesting thing is that there are repair marks which indicate a manufacture prior to 1850 (replacement and angle change of neck to accommodate pitch change at that time) so I was hoping the label might have dated as far back as say 1840 and hence be an "original fake". Dendrochronology if it is to be believed has pegged the instrument no earlier than 1820 plus time to age the wood.
The other clue I have which supports JamesM theory is that I have in fact seen on eBay what appears to be an identical label but in much better condition. That violin sold for less than $1000 before I came upon mine, so I have been unable to study it further as the listing was removed.
In general the condition of the violin suggests a very great age with repairs done by many generations of luthiers of varying talents. The average condition of a decent fiddle from 1830-1850 is much better. So it must have been well used.
So considering everything plus other theories and style, my guess is 1835-1840 violin,antiqued a bit to pass it off as an earlier work, from a workshop of some quality, bordering northern Italy with French and Austrian influence, and a label inserted after 1870 by a dealer who looked at the violin and thought he could profit with a better label.
Well it has always been a dream to own a great Italian violin. But of course to a player it all comes down to quality reproduction of sound and if I have that, it doesn't matter where it originates.

Thanks again.

brockfrench's picture

Really appreciate the full reveal here. -Best

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