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Thread: Seeking info about an italian mandolin made by raffaele valente

  1. #1

    Default Seeking info about an italian mandolin made by raffaele valente

    ***I was having difficulty posting the pictures, so they are in the Video/Picture Forum under "Italian Mandolin"

    I know NOTHING about mandolins, but I picked up two in an online auction recently, so I hope you can offer me some assistance!
    I only had a couple of hours beforehand to try and find out some information about the mandolins, but I did manage to find the maker’s name and a picture of a Mandolin that matched the Vintage one in the auction.
    As far as I can tell, the maker, Raffaele Valente, of Rome, only produced one model around the late1800’s.
    The small label inside says:



    The detailing and fret markers are Mother-of-Pearl.

    Not sure what the bridge is made of, but it is almost weightless.

    The bridge is not being held in place (obviously!&#128578 due to the missing strings & tuning keys, and, unfortunately, there was was no tailpiece attached either.

    But other than that, the overall condition of it appears to be very good (to my untrained eye at least!&#128521

    Would the tuning keys on an instrument of this age have been made of marble? Bone?

    What would the tailpiece have been constructed of? Silver? Brass? Wood? Something else entirely?

    And what about the strings? What DID they actually make strings out of in those days? Sinew? Some kind of hemp? Wire of some sort?

    I’m looking forward to learning all about this, and hopefully I will be able to get it in working order again and be able to use it!

    I am giving the other mandolin I bought to my dad for Christmas... and (hopefully🤷#♀️) we can learn how to play together.🙂

    He is a huge Bluegrass fan...
    I’d just tag along to keep him company as my mom just recently passed away. 😪
    So I figured if I’m going to be there, I might as well be playing something! (Keeps the wine glass out of my hand😉 Hahaha)

    I do have a 6 string and a 12 string guitar, but I haven’t played in years, and I thought it would be nice if the two of us could do this together. 🥰

    I’d appreciate any information that people might have about the maker, Raffaele Valente, as well as any pictures of the complete Mandolin (showing the tailpiece), and any other related information you may have about it.

    I’d also be interested be interested in hearing people’s opinions and feedback about the following:
    1) Is this something that you would take in to be repaired in person - as opposed to mailing it or couriering it?
    2) Any suggestions as to where I could get refurbishing such as this done?
    (FYI- I live in Midwestern Ontario near Lake Huron).
    3) Any ‘rough’ estimates of how much I’d be looking at for parts & labour?

    4) Any reputable Appraisers who specialize in vintage instruments, or mandolins in particular, where I could take it to have an appraisal done. (Christie’s? Sotheby’s? Others?)

    5) Is this the kind of instrument that is more of a ‘Collector’s piece’ - more to be looked at, or is it something that could be played without hesitation?
    (Even if the person is just learning!) 😁

    Thanks for any information you can share.
    I appreciate your help and look forward to your responses!

  2. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Ann Arbor/Austin

    Default Re: Seeking info about an italian mandolin made by raffaele valen

    Hello, Patti....a lot of questions there and I'm not sure if I can answer many of them for you...but Valente certainly made some very nice mandolins, if the example I have in my files is any indication.

    The options for repair of old bowlback mandolins here in the Western Hemisphere are limited, but depending on the scope of work needed might be achievable.

    Attached are the photos of a Valente that I have. It is in the Roman style with a quite beautiful fluted maple bowl. A lovely mandolin.

    We can start there and folks with a better idea of value can follow up. Of course the value will be almost certainly defined by its possible playability and likely ease of repair.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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