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Antonio Stradivari 1686 ca. VL Golden Bell

The violin known as the ‘Golden Bell’ offers us an opportunity to briefly discuss the sinful practise of altering, or substituting, the original labels in stringed instruments. As the Hills aptly put it: ‘The object generally aimed at in changing the labels is to pass off the works of an inferior maker for those of a superior or more favoured one. But this could not apply to Stradivari, who represents the ne plus ultra; hence in most cases the original tickets have been suffered to remain, though we cannot add unscathed, for another phase of falsification here presents itself. Erroneous ideas and exaggerated statements have been disseminated with regard to the comparative merits of the various periods of Stradivari’s work, and consequently an undue importance has often been attributed to the productions of certain years. Unscrupulous dealers have therefore sought to pass off examples of the early and late dates as those of the middle period of the maker’s life, and the necessity of altering Stradivari’s figures thus presented itself,—here, the figures to be entirely changed; there, but partially.’

Further Details

Antonio Stradivari Set 1, Volume 1, Page 152