In the 1960s and ’70s, there were many violin manufacturers in existence, many of which had their own brand names. When a particular violin was made, the makers gave it a name (perhaps because they believed people would buy it, and perhaps because the names were memorable).
Over time, many makers discontinued the manufacture of their instruments, and the name could not be found again. Sometimes, the name was used as a brand, and other times it was used to distinguish an instrument from other instruments (it was also often used as a trade name). Often, the name of the instrument was registered under an original brand name.
So the first thing we need to know about a violin maker is whether his product is a legitimate brand. The best tool for determining quality is to compare the violin to models from a large variety of makers. If there is a huge selection of brands, then you should be able to get a good look at the quality of the makers on the market.
If the maker of a violin is an individual, he has little incentive to keep his brand name current. You would often find them selling many of the same instruments made by the same factory. If each maker were to be a manufacturer of a different brand name that was also applied to their instrument, the price for a new violin could be quite high.
So even if the name of the manufacturer is current, you cannot really be sure of the quality of the instrument until you compare it to a large collection of models from different makers. This can be done by visiting websites of violin makers and checking their website histories. You can also do a search on the internet and ask which instruments the makers manufactured in the past. You may find that the name has changed, or that the model number was different. You should have a good idea of the quality of the manufacturer and you can compare it to your current models.
Websites that offer a good estimate of vintage are www.baldwin.com and http://www.baldwin.com/featured_collections/
Websites that offer no detailed information are www.valetexas.com or http://valetexas.com/#/collector/
To obtain more information about the quality of the instrument, I would recommend looking online at www.guitaristworld.com and/or www.sig-meister.com. These websites usually provide a free PDF version of all their information, allowing
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