Not a Stradivarius after all

published  Nov 3 , 2011

Elina Vähälä and the Professor Faltin violin.

Elina Vähälä and the Professor Faltin violin. (Image: Suomen Kulttuurirahasto)
A violin owned by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, thought to be the creation of Antonio Stradivari (1678 ??), has been found to be the work of another, lesser esteemed craftsman, Girolamo Amati (Hieronymus II). The reassignment of creator means that the estimated value of the instrument has fallen by at least half.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation purchased what it thought was a Stradivarius in 1993. A few months ago, however, suspicions were presented that it may not have actually been made by Antonio Stradivari.

Experts who examined the violin came to the conclusion that it was created by another well-known name of the period, Girolamo Amati, also known as Hieronymus II. He was the last of a line of stringed instrument makers, the best known of whom was Niccolo Amati who it is said may have taught Stradivari his craft.

This piece is known as the Professor Faltin violin, after a professor of surgery, Richard Faltin, who was a close friend of the composer Jean Sibelius.

For the past ten years, it has been on loan to Elina Vähälä.

When considered a Stradivarius, the violin was valued at around one million euros. Now, after being reassigned as an Amati, its value is only about half of that sum.

There are two genuine Stradivarius violins in Finland. According to Veli-Markus Tapio of the Cultural Foundation, the number of Amati violins in the country could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation has a collection of 45 stringed instruments with a total value of close to seven million euros that it loans to musicians. Among the instruments are three Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violins, each valued at around one million euros.


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