Before you have a problem with a lost instrument:
Take close up photos of your instrument, and bows. You don’t need professional photos. Just use your phone and get it done. Write a description of each piece (violin label, bow stamps, any numbers, etc.) Put your business card or other contact info in your case (possibly, with a note mentioning a reward for returning your instrument.) Lastly, NEVER leave your instrument in a parked car.
Make a police report.
Send out an email. Ask recipients to forward it.
It should include when, where and how it went missing. Explain what went missing by including pictures, descriptions of the instrument, bow(s) and case, including any label and stamp information. Add dimensions and/or any peculiar characteristics. Put the instrument and bow’s name in the subject area (e.g. “FAGNOLA violin, VOIRIN bow STOLEN.” This makes is easy for any shop to search an email archive should a suspicious instrument come in their shop days, months or years later. (Shop owners, create a “Stolen” label in your mail and archive all notices you receive there.)
Some good places to email:
1. Musical instrument insurers and professional organizations with a large member base: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.musicins.com/, email@example.com, (American Federation of Violin and Bow Making, Violin Society of America, Heritage Insurance for the Musical Arts and Trades, Clarion Music Insurance, respectively.) Ask them if they could forward the information on to its dealers/members.
2. You can create your own shop list at the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers Web site: http://www.afvbm.org/members
Use the internet. Post it!
1. Maestronet Stolen Registry: http://www.maestronet.com/stolen/index.cfm
2. Violinist.com: http://www.violinist.com/discussion/createthread.cfm (only if you’re a member)
3. Violin Society of America:
a. On their FaceBook page
b. On their Twitter: https://twitter.com/ViolinSociety
c. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Violin-Society-America-5005432?home=&gid=5005432&trk=anet_ug_hm
4. The Strad Magazine: http://www.thestrad.com/forum
5. American String Teacher’s Association or ASTA:
Post on their FaceBook page at “ASTA America”
1. The maker of your instrument or bow (if contemporary) to alert them.
2. All local violin shops and other music shops
3. Google “pawn shops + your town name” to get a list of shops to call.
Taking these measures will increase the likelihood of getting back you precious instrument.
Save this information somewhere where you can find again. Hopefully you’ll never need it.
Thanks to Lori Kirr (VSA), Laurie Niles (Violinist.com), Jeffrey Solow (ASTA), Ariane Todes (The Strad Magazine), Ellis Hershman (Heritage Insurance Co.) for helping to compile this information.
Have you ever lost and recovered an instrument? How did it happen?
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