From the Archive: November 1911

ArchiveNov1911

Regular columnist Towry Piper bewails the notorious practice among dealers of switching labels in instruments to make them more attractive to buyers

It seems pretty certain that the practice of removing authentic labels from second or third-rate Italian fiddles, and substituting more marketable ones, first began to assume serious proportions in the earlier half of the last century. Whether or not Tarisio was responsible to such an extent as has been hinted for malpraxis of this kind it is impossible to say at this distance of time, in the absence of direct evidence. He certainly had unique opportunities, if minded to avail himself of them; for it is well-known that he used to take his fiddles to pieces when on his business travels in order to escape the customs duties which would have been levied upon instruments in a complete state. But there were at that period several men of better education than the humble Italian, both on the continent and in our tight little island, who were by no means above attaching false birth certificates to their wares, though it would serve no useful purpose to name them…

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