Violin found 35 years after theft

A Stradivarius that belonged to renowned violinist, Roman Totenberg, has been recovered after 35 years.

Totenberg left the violin in his office, while greeting well-wishers after a concert in 1980, but when he returned it was gone. Its case was later found in the basement of the Longy School of Music, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he taught. But Totenberg, who died three years ago, aged 101, never saw the instrument again.

Totenberg thought he knew who stole the violin, but there was never enough evidence. The trail went cold until this June, when his eldest daughter, Nina Totenberg, got a phone call from an FBI agent, who said the violin was in federal custody.

“I really could hardly believe it at the time,” Nina Totenberg said. The violin, known as the Ames Stradivarius, was made in Italy in 1734, by Antonio Stradivari, and is one of 550 Stradivarius instruments known to exist.

They can fetch millions of pounds at auction, including a record $15.9m in 2011.

The violin surfaced in June, when a woman brought it to New York to have it appraised. The appraiser, Phillip Injeian, contacted authorities.

The woman has not been accused of any wrongdoing. She did not know it was stolen.


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