There are a number of sources of information on this, like the “Antique Instrument Identification Handbook” by Dr. R.D. Wilson, the official book of the National Instrument Corporation, which is licensed by the Antique Instrument and Supplies Association in New York City. The catalog of “The Antique Instrument Collection” by Milt Tromp, the official book of the New Hampshire State Music Educators Association, details a couple of approaches to buying a violin from the past that work, but for our purposes they provide the most basic information.
One common source of information on guitars is “Saul B. Furman’s Antique Guitar Collection.” There you can buy a small quantity (about a half dozen) if you are a bit adventurous and if you are willing to pay for advertising in back issues of Guitar World and Guitar Player magazine. The ads are in the “General” section. Another resource is on-line catalogs, such as “Antique Instrument Catalogue and Catalogues of Musical Instruments” from the American Institute of Philharmonic Engineers.
Some of the antiques that have special value to instruments are instruments of the 18th and 19th century, because they are rarer and therefore worth more. For example, a few of the most popular instruments to today’s violin buffs are the old violins. The first Violin in the early 18th century was built as a special instrument for church services. A number of violins from that era are still in the collections of music halls today.
Another great source of information on instruments is David Z. Daley’s article, “Antique Violins,” in “Viola Magazine” in September-October 2002. His article is titled “A Handful of Violins from America” (Viola News Service, 2003).
I have used the information I have found at the above-linked sources to guide the development of my own research, so that it becomes the definitive list that I think is worth writing about. Please let me know what you think, and thanks for reading the rest of this section!
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