Kroll Inc. has been hired to assist in the return of a 1714 Stradivarius "Le Maurien" violin stolen in New York on April 9, 2002. Kroll is asking for our assistance in passing on this information. Please contact them with any information by calling: 1 866 655-7773 (toll-free for US and Canada) 1 703 259-2289 (collect call for non-US).
The following reward is being posted:$100,000 CASH (MAXIMUM REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OF INFORMANTS) FOR THE FULL AND WHOLE RECOVERY OF AN ANTONIO STRADIVARI VIOLIN DATED 1714. THIS VIOLIN WAS LAST SEEN AT 1995 BROADWAY IN NEW YORK CITY ON 4/9/2002.
THERE WILL BE NO QUESTIONS ASKED AND THE IDENTITY OF THE RECIPIENT SHALL REMAIN ANONYMOUS.
The top is two piece spruce of medium grain. Extensive restoration in the center between the f-holes. Two piece maple back of medium, light flames descending from the center joint. Ribs and scroll of the same wood. Back, ribs and scroll are in perfect condition. Splendid golden red varnish. Extensive touch up work on the top of the instrument. Original label dated 1714. Length of Back-358.5 . Upper Bouts 168, Middle Bouts 112, Lower Bouts 207.
"There was no robbery and no sign of a break-in. The security system was working perfectly.
And during business hours on the days in question, the six large rooms of Christophe Landon's rare violin workshop and instrument store on Broadway near Lincoln Center were continuously staffed. But somehow, a 1-pound, $1.6 million Stradivarius violin disappeared from Landon's suite sometime between 12:15 p.m. on April 9, a Tuesday, and 11 a.m. two days later. The Stradivarius violin is one of the rarest in the world. "That's when I last saw it, and that's when I discovered it was missing," said Landon, who is one of a handful of expert violin makers in this country. During the time in question, dozens of people passed through his suite. Landon knows many of them because the world of rare violins and those who play them, and buy and sell them, is very small. "Everybody knows everybody, all the dealers, the collectors and the musicians," said Landon, sitting in a room adjacent to his workshop. "What I don't understand is motive, because you cannot sell this violin, you cannot take it to an auction house, or to a dealer ,because it is easily identifiable by an expert," said Landon. "It is like a Rembrandt." Crafted in 1714, the 9-inch-wide instrument is known as "Le Marien," after a Belgian violinist who owned and played it nearly 100 years ago. Its disappearance is the latest, and most remarkable, of several thefts of rare and valuable violins in Manhattan in recent years."
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"A few days ago, Wissman told the Dallas Morning News that he had been "distraught ever since it happened ... I entrusted the instrument to him [and] he was sloppy and negligent". The replacement value, he reckons, is nearer $4m than Landon's $1.4m valuation. Landon begs to differ. Actually, he doesn't really beg - instead he deploys the time-honoured alternative strategy for those accused of losing something valuable.
"That violin had a big hole in the middle of it, hidden under the touch-up, like if a Reubens had had the canvas replaced and touched up. And it sounded really bad. You know, that violin" - and here his voice falls in volume, and he says something that people do not, frankly, say very frequently where Strads are concerned - "it was a lemon." "
The dealer, the telecoms magnate and the disappearing Stradivarius, Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian, London