Rudolf Ewerhart collection on auction

I don’t like the look of the Serafini. Indeed, the maker is not mentioned in any Boalch edition. In the video I see a thoroughly modern stand and a modern external and internal decoration, and a suspiciously uniform-colour soundboard. According to the auction details, the action is modern, there is an antique signature on the soundboard, a jack with a date and a few antique parts. Difficult to say, without examining the instrument, which parts of it are really original.

Searching for more info, I looked at one of the pictures in the auction website: According to Prof. Dr. R. Ewerhart, the instrument was built by Mario Serafini 1699 in Rome as a
Looking at the registers and wrestplank, It appears that the instrument once had a third rank of jacks, most likely 4’ (never heard of three 8’ ranks on an Italian antique). Yet it is apparent that the soundboard never had a 4’ bridge, and further the wood has the grain at a strange angle: it really looks modern . . .

Ah, forgot the chromatic 4-octave keyboard, but then many antiques have modern-converted ones
of course.
Another check needed is the “smell”. For me, it all “smells” to Franciolini … :slight_smile:

Yes, it is a suspect instrument indeed. Maybe the third rank of jacks could be something like peau de bouffle or other device? I mean plucking one of the two 8’ strings, as there is no sign of a 4’ on the soundboard or on the wrestplank.

Hi Domenico: it would be a unique occurrence of a third rank of jacks for two 8’ choirs in Italy. Imitation of such a foreign custom could happen after 1750, say, but certainly not back in 1699.

Let us put together everything: only the wrestplank looks antique, and is at odds with the rest of the instrument. The faux-inner-outer case, stand and lid are fully painted 19th when not 20th century, the keyboard and the soundboard cannot be Italian 1699 either. At this point, it really looks like a Franciolini or similar fake!

I stand corrected: not even the wrestplank looks convincing. Apart from the square patches to cover former holes (probably for a different set of handstops), its general shape is unlikely to be Italian 1699 either.

Dear harpsichord friends, I have been in Wassenach (mainly to look at piano’s, Italian harpsichords are not my piece of cake) and played the ‘Serafini’ (lot 92). I can confirm your ideas: it it a well regulated, nice sounding instrument, but in no way I got the excitement, or feel of a three centuries old machine. Having said that €14.000 seems a fair price for a nice looking, nice sounding and useful instrument for the music practice. The makers of the catalogue (present in the house) did a very good job, their description does not suggest it is that old, nor Italian. So catalogue text, price and value are pretty consistent in my view.

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