Jacob Stainer, Absam, 1650, the 'Hämmerle'

Violin: 40002

Bearing a manuscript label on the upper block: "Jacobus Stainer / Absom propè Oenipontum / fecit Cremona m.pia / 16**"; the last 2 digits are no longer legible.

Back: Two-piece

Varnish: Gold-orange

Length of back: 35.4 cm

Upper bouts: 16.5 cm

Middle bouts: 11.2 cm

Lower bouts: 20.3 cm

There are 3 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


"In 1910 a sensation was caused by the announcement that the Viennese expert, Hermann Voigt, had discovered an inscription hidden on the upper block of the violin built in the style of Nicolo Amati: "Jacobus Stainer ex Absom prope Oenipontum fecit Cremonae M (anu) p(ropr)ia 16 . . ." The last two digits were illegible. We discovered that the violin had been opened before 1910, and the full date --1645--had been legible at that time. It was believed that this written label was proof positive of Stainer's activity in Nicolo Amati's workshop. However, graphological evidence indicates that the handwriting on the hidden label is not Stainer's, but rather a forgery. The manipulation is made all the more obvious by the fact that another label, affixed to a visible part of the instrument under the left F-hole, bears the names of the brothers Amati, who were no longer alive at the time in question. It is quite unlikely that maker's marks were being forged as early as 1645. However, new graphological evidence indicates the label to be genuine. . . On the basis of the genuine handwriting in the documents and letters, these scientists [handwriting experts] were asked to ascertain which of the labels could have been written by Stainer. After several months of intensive study, the experts arrived at some surprising results. Very few labels had been accepted as genuine. But what was most surprising was the conclusion that the Cremona labels were authentic! This finding pleased us greatly, since we had always been of the opinion that Stainer must have worked, at least for a time, in Cremona."

Jacobus Stainer and his Labels, Karl Roy, Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. IX, No. 1, Flushing, NY

"It bears a quite authentic looking handwritten label on the top block which reads:

'Jacobus Stainer, Ex Absom prope oenipontum, Fecit Cemonae, 16. '

This label needs to be examined more closely, but could represent the best proof yet that Stainer was printing his own labels in the years before 1650 - and that he was working in Cremona at the time."

Hunting the Lion, Benjamin Schröder, The Strad, July, 2003, London

On loan to Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum since 2004.

Classy Visitors To Vienna Museum, The Strad, January, 2004, London


Sold by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume
in 1892 and until 1930 Theodor Hämmerle
Sold by Jacques Français
in 2002 Dr Herbert R. Axelrod
in 2004 Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna


  • Evelyn & Herbert Axelrod Stringed Instrument Collection, Herbert Axelrod (illustrated)
  • The Strad, January, 2004, Newsquest Specialist Media, London
  • Die Geigen und Lautenmacher vom Mitteralter bis zur Gegenwart, Willibald Freiherr von Lütgendorff, Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt, Frankfurt am Main (illustrated)
  • The Strad, July, 2003, Benjamin Schröder, Newsquest Specialist Media, London
  • Instrumente der Sammlung Dr. Herbert R. und Evelyn Axelrod, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna (illustrated)
  • Jacob Stainer "… kayserlicher diener und geigenmacher zu Absom", Rudolf Hopfner, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna (illustrated)
  • Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. IX, No. 1, Karl Roy, The Queens College Press, Flushing, NY
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
  • W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive (illustrated)


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