Hopf Violin

Hopf Violin

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This violin was made in Klingenthal, Germany around 1880. This commercial violin bears a square arching and outline typically seen in Klingenthal trade instruments of the late 19th century branded “HOPF.” J. Howard Foote, in his 1882 catalog indicates: “Hopf violins are well known by their peculiar shape and color. But few Violins sold as “Hopf” are genuine. Nos. (catalog numbers) 5871-73 are made by the successor of the original “Hopf” both in name and vocation.” This instrument, Foote catalog #5872, is described as “Genuine ‘Hopf,’ extra quality, ebony trimmings and fingerboard, ‘Stainer’ model...$80.00 per dozen.”

Caspar Hopf is thought to have founded the Klingenthal tradition of violin making in the late 17th century. From these beginnings until this century, 24 makers bearing the Hopf family name worked in Saxony, primarily in Klingenthal. The family is generally known for their extensive production of inexpensive and commercial instruments for the trade. This violin is made of a two-piece table of spruce, back of maple with irregular fine figure, ribs of medium-fine figure, neck, pegbox and scroll of medium-fine figured maple, and a deep reddish-purple varnish.

Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Place Made
Germany: Saxony, Klingenthal
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 35.2 cm x 20.1 cm; 13 7/8 in x 7 15/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of J. Howard Foote
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I was given a Hopf violin for my birthday 4 years ago. Original Hopf violins were handmade and are the most valuable. Remakes were also made, but were produced in factories. In order to know if you own an original or not, you can look on the inside of the cooling for three hand notched crowns ( circles ) . It should also have square corner blocking on the inside. The square shape is important because since they weren't produced in factories, they had no tools to round them off.
I have my Dads violin. He was born 1915 , his mother bought him a violin from the Salvation Army store in the Bronx when he was 9 years old. My Dad had lessons and would play on the roof tops of apartments in Bronx NY with his brother I have his Hopf Violin in the original case with the bow. He did not play when he got older so it sits in the case and I would love to have it restrung. There are no cracks no missing parts. I don't know the value and afraid to just bring it to a shop to fix it up. Do you have a suggestion?
A friend of mine who is 82 yrs. old has his great, great, grandfather's Hopf violin. It says, London and German on the neck of the instrument. He had asked me to look it up for him. Much appreciated for an answer.
Where is the ID # and makers mark appear, I have one with HOPF on the center top back looks like meets you description. Thanks Russ

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