The violin label is a handwritten or printed maker’s label pasted to the inside on the back plate. A label does not necessarily mean that a violin was in fact made by a particular luthier, though: In earlier times, it was very common for labels not to be changed in a workshop after the master violinmaker’s death. Also, complaints about fraudulent use of labels have been made since the 17th century. Facsimiles of labels by famous makers were routinely placed in mass-produced inexpensive copies in the 19th century. These labels must be interpreted simply as an indicator of the model around which the instrument was designed. Obviously, instruments with labels outsold those without labels. Even genuine, old labels were sometimes pasted into other instruments, so a bona fide label is no guarantee of an instrument’s authenticity. Nowadays, labels play a minor role in instrument authentication.

Violin, Antonio Stradivari, 1694, "ex Benecke". Interior view.
Label of the Stradivari "ex Benecke", 1694.