To determine if a Hopf violin is authentic, look for an angular design, golden brown color and a lack of labeled country of origin. Because copies are often extremely faithful to the original, only a trained appraiser can definitively tell the difference.
The most celebrated violin makers of the Hopf family of Germany lived between 1650 and 1786. Most authentic Hopf violins were produced during that time period. It was a common practice in the later Victorian era for violin makers to stamp their wares with the names of well-respected violin masters, such as Hopf, in order to drum up sales. Thus many violins produced after 1800 are also stamped with the Hopf name.
In 1891, the American government began requiring imported goods to be stamped with their country of origin. Therefore, a violin with the Hopf name stamp as well as a labeled country of origin may not be a true Hopf violin.
True Hopf violins are noted for their light golden brown color and aged look. An expert appraiser can examine a violin for characteristics such as its design, the type of wood and varnish used, and any evidence of age and wear. These characteristics are often very subtle, and require years of training and experience to properly spot.