How Can You Identify the Original Label of a Stradivarius Violin?


Quick Answer

Original labels of Stradivarius violins are identified by the color of the paper, the appearance of the labels' edges, the language used in the labels, and whether or not the labels have ever been removed. Because there have been many copies and replicas of the famous violins, the presence of a Stradivarius label does not necessarily mean that the instrument is a genuine work of Stradivarius himself.

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Full Answer

Stradivarius is the Latinized form of Stradivari. Around 152 to 450 Stradivarius violins still exist as of 2015, all of which are accounted for. If the label says that it was made in Germany or Italy, it is a fake. Stardivarius labels often include phrases such as, "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1720.”

Violin labels are divided into two categories: pre-1850 and post-1850. Pre-1850 labels feature laid paper violin labels, while post-1850 violins have wove paper violin labels. Antonio Stradivari worked during the 17th and 18th centuries, so all of his labels should be of laid paper.

Original antique violin labels naturally change color as they age. The paper darkens as a result of reactions against the wood and other atmospheric changes, and the wood and the label should have similar shades of brown.

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