Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1725, the 'Duke of Cambridge, Bott, Spohr'

Violin: 40528

Labeled, "Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 172..."

Back: in one piece of quarter cut maple with medium narrow flame descending slightly from the bass side.

Top: in two pieces of spruce with variable, medium width grain broadening slightly at the edges.

Ribs: and head of maple with medium width flame.

Varnish: of an orange-brown color.

Length of back: 35.6 cm

Upper bouts: 16.7 cm

Middle bouts: 11.3 cm

Lower bouts: 20.6 cm

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This instrument was stolen from Bott in 1894, quashing all hopes of a comfortable retirement for him and his wife. Bott died a year later, and a violin dealer named Flechter was accused of having stolen the instrument and served 3 months of a 12-month sentence, though the instrument had not yet been found. Several years later, in 1900, the instrument was found in the possession of a family named Springer. It turned out that the instrument had been originally stolen by an unknown party and immediately sold to a pawn shop for $4. It then passed through several hands, none of which recognized it as a work of the master. Finally in July, 1902, 8 years after Bott's death, Flechter was exonerated and the instrument was restored to Mrs. Bott.

Flechter was convicted largely because of the testimony of August Gemunder, who claimed that a violin being sold by Flechter was the ex-Bott, when in fact it was just a cheap Strad copy.

"During the trial of Mr. Fletcher, many of his business competitors, displayed an animosity, which was, to say the least, reprehensible, and there seemed, in the light of present events, as if there was an organized effort to convict him at all costs."

Observations, The Violin Times, September, 1900, London


Louis Spohr
until 1850 Duke of Cambridge
in 1850 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
1850-1872 Moritz Hauptmann
1872-1894 Jean Joseph Bott
... ...
1900-1903 Matilde Bott
in 1903 Sold by Lyon & Healy
from 1903 Archibald Mitchell
in 1909 Sold by Lyon & Healy
until 1911 Roderick White
from 1911 Lyon & Healy
until 1917 John McCormack
from 1917 Lyon & Healy
in 1925 M. Zamustin
from 1926 Erich Lachmann
until 1939 Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.
from 1939 Erich Lachmann
Camilla Wicks
from 1985 New York Philharmonic
in 2022

Known players

Camilla Wicks, Glenn Dicterow, Jean Joseph Bott, Joseph White, Ruth Breton


  • An Encyclopedia of the Violin (1925), Alberto Bachman, The Library Press Limited, London
  • Antonius Stradivarius (Volumes I-IV), Jost Thöne, Jan Röhrmann, Alessandra Barabaschi, Jost Thöne Verlag, Cologne, 2010 (illustrated)
  • Camilla's Chocie
  • Flexible Leadership
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999 (illustrated)
  • Violins & Violinists, January, 1942, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago (illustrated)
  • Lyon & Healy 1913 Catalog
  • The Violin Times, September, 1900, edited by E. Polanski, London
  • Lyon & Healy Rare Old Violins (1909), Lyon & Healy, Chicago (illustrated)
  • The Lost Stradivarius
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)


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