"The violin Mr. Korfker has been playing since 1998, is the "King Maximilian Joseph" Stradivarius made by Antonio Stradivari in 1703. The history of this instrument is documented from the time it was in the possession of "Maximilian I Joseph Wittelsbach" (1756-1825), King of Bavaria from 1806 to 1825. The instruments from his collection were played by musicians of the Royal Opera House in Munich. The brand-mark "MJ" on the back of the violin bears witness to the King´s ownership. It can be seen at the top, right corner of this frame.
Later, the "Max-Joseph" came into the hands of the Royal instrument maker Franz Rampftler in Munich, after which the Bavarian judge von Knörzinger and his family owned it for many years. In 1925 the Stradivarius was bought by Victor Mannheimer, at the time a resident of Berlin, who dies three years later. In the book How Many Strads (1945) the violin is described as being in the possession of his family in Amsterdam. Victor Mannheimer's wife and children survive the Second World War and emigrate to the United States before 1950. They finally sell the instrument in 1961 to Irving Levick, an American violin collector living in New York.
In 1998 the Stradivarius eventually returned to the Netherlands through the effort of a Dutch patron who acquired the instrument for Mr. Korfker. In 2001 a new Patron decided to bring the "Maximilian-Joseph" into the Stradivari Society with the aim of continuing the lifetime loan to Berent Korfker through this prestigious organisation."
Berent Korfker website
Emil Herrmann notes: Dates the instrument to circa 1685-90.
The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Washington, DC