Man Tries to Sell Fake Stradavarius Violin for $700,000


Hello, welcome to another… I N T E R E S T I N G …episode of TwoSet Violin. Today we will be watching… this guy try to sell a very… questionable *cough* fake Stradivarius violin. At a… Pawn… Stars… Shop? Get it? Pawn stars? A ha ha ha ha… Pawnor: What’s going on? Pawnbroker: Not much. What can I do for you? Got this violin here. It’s been in my family for a very long time. Dude, that violin is so messed up! What the **** is that? If you ever show me a violin like that, I’m just… gonna cry. It doesn’t matter what it is. – Yeah.
– Like it’s just- No violin should have looked like that. First of all, there’s no bridge. Eddy: It looks just the colours are all wrong, like…
Brett: I think the varnish job- Brett: You can see the actual wood. Brett: It’s obviously been scraped without care.
Eddy: The varnish is gone, right? Yeah, I’m pretty sure no Strad in history would be treated like this. Yeah. Alright, there’s no chin rest, whatever, but there’s also like… From this shot, it looks like the strings are rusty, the tailpiece looks kinda weird how it’s sitting all the way high up there. Yeah. And I think that little taper between the tailpiece and end point should be stronger, right? – Do you wanna get yours to show?
– Yeah. So I don’t understand how they just leave it there. Can you guys see this? There’s a little… I don’t know what you call it, but… THAT is quite strong actually. And here it just looks so floppy. Well, see how like your tailpiece lines up to the bottom. (both) Can you guys see? Yeah. Yup! Whereas this one is all the way up there. It’s come up to like here. That’s true. That’s all- – Yeah, it looks a bit funny, right?
– Yeah. Not only is it in very bad condition the violin itself, but the kinda setup also just looks horrendous. There’s a massive crack, dude! Down there. Do you know how much cracks like that cost to repair? – Not to mention how much they devalue the instrument.
– Yeah. Actually, also… The location of a crack also depends – how much it devalues the instrument.
– Yeah. Same with a bow. So if it’s a small opening in the seam, that’s a lot more easier to fix than… – a crack that is like, on the sound post area,
– Like here. – or like all the way down here.
– Yeah. Pawnor: Stradivarius. Oh my god… Talk about cracks, that crack is in every worst possible place! Down the f-holes, and the centre. Brett: Dude, you can’t play it. It’s damaged.
Eddy: It looks like it’s been snapped, and glued together. Every once in a while one comes up. It’s very very rare. I’m mean we’re talking big money. Even in this condition, we’re talking, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Strads are not hundreds and thousands of dollars, right? – They’re more.
– Yeah. – Well, he said “in this condition.”
– I mean I guess- In this condition. IF there was a Strad in this condition. Which is very dubious – ’cause people take care of their Strads.
– Yeah, very du- If you had a Strad, you would not let it go like this. Pawnor: I have a Stradivarius violin. This violin has been in my family for a very long time. It belonged to my grandfather. – Does he actually think he had a Stradivarius?
– Yeah. I know. Or is he like, just trying to like… scam someone? Alright, I mean I don’t watch “Pawn Stars.” – I don’t know if the context of the series is meant to be…
– Yeah. real people going to real pawn shops, or like, setup scenarios. – Just the whole situation itself is very suspicious.
– It’s like “we’re gonna take you to-” “We’re gonna take you to the side” “to do a little interview about your… product.” Pawnor: There’s a lot of information that point to it being authentic. I think a reasonable price would be $700,000. Pfffft! He wants to sell that for… Let’s see if he can verify. Pawnbroker: What makes you think this is a Stradivarius? Pawnor: One of the things I noticed, there’s a label inside. 1731. Yeah, it says right in there. Pawnbroker: Antonio Stradivarius. And it says Cremona, That’s the town he was from in Italy. From my understanding is the copies had to have a label on there that said copy. – That’s his evidence?
– Wow… That’s his evidence? – “This one doesn’t say copy, so it must be legit!”
– “That must be real!” In case you are wondering, yes, a lot of people do make Strad copies – without putting the word “copy” on it.
– Yes. They make it just to… as form of inspirations as well. – Both, there’s both.
– There’s that, – and there are also people that just try to pass of.
– But there… Yes. Just like there are plenty of… – Supreme shirts out there that are fake.
– Yeah. …fake. Yeah, people just wanna copy ’em. Selling fake product. Pawnbroker: Antonio Stradivarius was known for making the best violin of the time. And I’m not a violin expert, but I think he was known for making the best violin of all time. Pawnor: My understanding is they have a particular sound. My grandfather purchased it because it sounded better than the violin he had. Can I just say that’s the most like, casual thing to say? “Hey.” “My granddad just bought a Strad – ’cause it sounds better than the other violin he had.”
– Yeah, yeah. Can I just say, too, like, why is there so many… – people like shopping in the background?
– Random people. Did they not realise they’re being filmed? Or are they like paid actors? Probably the latter. It’s in pretty rough condition. – Yeah.
– It’s got some cracks down here. No **** Sherlock. Ha ha ha! It even looks like maybe at some point dad or grandpa tried to glue it back together, or maybe you did. I don’t know. Not me. Ha ha ha! But… a lot of times they’re in such bad condition because these were, you know, tools of the trade. People made their living off this, and… they would get beat up and smashed around a lot. Yeah, ’cause musicians just beat up their violins – ’cause it’s the tools of the trade, right?
– Yeah. – Just kidding!
– Hey guys. Did you notice it’s actually a Strad? Yeah, guys. This is a Strad. You can see a little scratch there I did for too much practice. Yeah, tools of the trade. How much are you looking to get for it? Well, based on the condition that it’s in, and what they go for, $700,000 I think is fair. Okay, I mean… just looking at it. To me it looks far from $700,000, but I have no idea. “It’s so far from $700,000,” “BUT I HAVE NO IDEA.”
– “NO IDEA. I HAVE NO IDEA.” It’s like “We all know it’s not.” I know that once something’s worth money, people fake it. There’s a lot of questions I have here. Pawnor: Yeah. I’d like to call in a friend of mine, and have him come down and take a look at this. Yeah, that sounds good. Alright. If you’re going to sell a Strad, you should have it verified first by an expert. – Yeah.
– And they have like- – They certify the Strad.
– Yeah. So that should be something you do BEFORE bringing it up and be like “Hey, I have a Strad.” Exactly. I mean… Yeah, bring it to a few certifiers. When you want to talk about the great violins in history, Stradivarius, that name, is the one that leads the way. You’re talking the wood selection, varnish, fantastically made. They’re beautiful, but they’re tools. They have to perform a specific task. And for most violinists, that’s a soloist. So you’re talking about a person who’s standing in front of… anywhere between a 50 and 80-piece orchestra, and they have to be heard above that. So you need an instrument of exceptional quality and power, and skill, and… Stradivarius violins unsurpassed. Everything this guy… What’s his name? I forgot. The violin expert guy said so far is… – pretty legit.
– Yeah, pretty legit. It’s true that Stradivariuses… are known for the exceptional acoustical sound quality. And they do have the power to be able to project. Because back then they didn’t have – microphones and speakers.
– Mhm. – Yup.
– And over… – Up to 100 musicians sometimes.
– Yes. – So you gotta project.
– Yeah. So the first couple of things that I look at are to see if all the parts line up correctly, which this one does. But it has significant damage. His wood selection was such that when he put the varnish on his instruments and you would move it like this and it would sort of look like it’s rippling. Really just majestic, beautiful. But on this violin, I’m seeing a little too much dark and even in this patch that’s revealing is a sort of a muted brown. And the inner linings of this, that line inside there is just a little too haphazard to be anything that he would have made. He doesn’t make those mistakes. He takes so much time. Sounds pretty legit. I mean I don’t… – I’m not a violin expert,
– Yeah. but I do know And they do… They are able to look out for these things – with their eyes.
– They can see it. This expert does seem quite legit so far. Yup! He might not be, but- – He might knew just what to say.
– Yeah. He is legit enough for… – to pass the mus- violinist radar.
– Yeah, violinist test. Okay, fair enough. – What you said, yeah, it’s legit.
– Yeah. 1731 puts it right towards the middle end of his middle period when he was making some of his absolute best- That’s golden age! Yeah. – 1731!
– Ha ha ha ha! Okay. Golden age is when the makers are at their peak. Yeah. – When they make their best instruments.
– Yeah. I mean, yeah. He makes a good point. It’s golden age. Yeah. Stradivari won’t mess up a golden age violin. – He won’t.
– He was at his best. His mind, skills, hands. Yeah. And these instruments go for… lots. So are you telling me you don’t think this is authentic? Unfortunately, no. No. “Grandfather,” “you lied to me.” “You betrayed me.” So what you have is from about the 1830s to about the 1960s, really, they would mass produce these in the millions. Do you think it has any value to it? In its current shape, not a lot. Ooooohhhhh… Say it right up. “In its current state,” “not a lot.” If that guy was coming in, trying to scam, – then I’m glad he got shut down.
– Yeah. But if he genuinely thought it was a Strad, – I kinda feel sorry for him.
– Yeah, I feel really- – If that’s the case, I’m like “I’m so sorry for him.”
– Yeah. I wish we would have hit gold with this one, but- That’s always the hope, man. – That’s always the hope.
– Can’t strum all the strings. So he doesn’t think it’s a Strad. I’m gonna have to, you know, go with him. I’m going to have to pass on it. – Well, thank you for your time.
– Yeah, thank you. Okay. Pawnor: For now we’ll just, you know, keep it safe. Probably make a little case for it and hang it up on the wall as a little homage to our grandfather. I don’t even know what to say. I mean… Just tragic. Yeah. TV, the whole thing is so tragic. Yeah. I think the most tragic is this… just… To me, like, the idea of hanging such a demented violin on the wall in a glass case. – Like, at least fix it first!
– I know. At least take it to a local luthier. Do you think that can even be fixed though? No, I don’t think so. Turn it into a viola. – Yeah.
– Could be good use. Or just make it firewood. Alright, guys. Did you enjoy watching this… episode of a… fake Stradivarius? If so, hit a like. And smash the subscribe button. Also, please check out our merch! Violin, viola. M, m, mmm! Thanks for the support. See you guys next time.

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