The instrument was purchased by Andre Rieu at Bongartz's auction in 1998, but returned a few weeks later due to questions about the authenticity of the table.
Discussions with previous owner
Charles Beare: "Two years ago there was a violin sold at auction in Germany for quite a large price, and with quite a lot of publicity. The sale was cancelled because somebody, who shall be nameless, and then somebody else who is smiling away here in the audience, informed the auctioneer that the front of the instrument didn't belong. Naturally this was very bad news. The violin landed with me very shortly afterwards and I gave my opinion. I had thought for some time that the front was indeed a 19th-century front. I was then given the diplomatic task of meeting the owner of this instrument and trying to calm things down a bit. The person from whom he had bought it was deceased and that had been many years ago. He ws naturally a little upset, but he called me up one day about six months after I had seen him and he said, 'Mr. Beare, I owe you a huge apology for any disbelief that I may have shown, I've had the front of my instrument looked at by a dendrochronologist in Switzerland, and he reports to me that the youngest year ring is 1833, and now I know the truth.' Well, here is a case where it [dendrochronology] immensely helped."
The Messie: A Panel Discussion, Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. XVII, No. 3, Flushing, NY