Thieves steal £1.2m Stradivarius near London Euston

December 7, 2010 at 11:19 PM ·

A fairly full report is on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11932139, and on other web sites.  This would appear to be an opportunistic theft of Min-Jin Kym's violin case from her side while she was dining, and we can but hope that everything will be recovered intact, and soon.  

Replies (74)

December 8, 2010 at 08:09 AM ·

I'm sorry for the loss but what on earth are people doing with something so valuable and leaving it in such a vulnerable position?  I'm thinking chains and handcuffs here at a minimum. Even its own security man. I take better care of my £200 Maidstone fiddle than this lady did of her Strad!

December 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM ·

If I were a soloist, played a Stradivari and a Pecatte bow I would never eat a sandwich....   I would go to a fine French or Italian restaurant where my stomach and my Strad would be safe...

www.manfio.com

December 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM ·

As someone who frequently travels through this particular London station, I have to say that there are numerous signs up saying "Thieves are active in this area, please look after your luggage" etc, and there are also regular public announcements which advise people to take particular care of their belongings.   Unfortunately there are a lot of criminally inclined individuals who hang around in Euston station and it is well known as being a crime hotspot.  I'd be constantly checking my handbag was OK, never mind my violin...

I certainly agree that in any busy public area, I'm really super-aware of having my violin with me and will either keep my case on my shoulder, or if I do have to put it down on the ground at any time I will put my feet on either side of the case and stand on the strap....   I hate to imagine how much more paranoid I'd be if I had a Strad or del Gesu.

Perhaps people who are loaned especially valuable instruments should have a training session with a police officer to make them aware of the security risks involved???  I do think we tend to take more care of our belongings if we or people close to us have saved up and paid for them ourselves.    If I was the owner of this Strad, I'd not be a happy bunny at all right now...

 

December 8, 2010 at 02:19 PM ·

I agree I would at least eat in Strada or even Pizza Express. I assume this was one of those open plan places with the violin on the open side ready for the picking. Sad for the violinist and now we have a millionaire theif!  

December 8, 2010 at 03:26 PM ·

Many years ago we were dining in a restaurant after attending a performance of Prokofiev Nr 2 in Bristol's Colston Hall.  A couple of tables from us the soloist (Igor Oistrakh) and the conductor were also dining.  I remember noticing that Oistrakh kept his violin case well under the table with his feet either side of it, even though opportunistic thefts were fairly rare in those days and that restaurant would have been the last place for that sort of theft. It is possible of course that Oistrakh's violin was state-owned.

Rosalind's suggestion of security advice from a police officer is a good one.  I wonder if this policy is implemented; perhaps it should be, at least by the insurance companies who stand to pay out a large sum if an instrument gets stolen.

December 8, 2010 at 03:42 PM ·

Writing as a player who is never likely to pay more than £600-£700 (tops) for a bow, I am puzzled why a Pecatte bow should be valued at £62K. Is it "name", rarity, age, or performance characteristics that are not shared with other bows; or a combination of these factors?  

As with successful modern replicas of Cremonese violins that can match the originals are there modern bows at more realistic prices that play as well as (or perhaps better) than a bow at least 10 times more expensive?

December 8, 2010 at 04:51 PM ·

Unlike many of the individuals who posted comments to the news stories on their respective pages, I am going to reserve judgment on the violinist given the scant amount of detail provided at this time.  It could have been carelessness or negligence, but let's not forget that theft is not a passive act.  I don't know if there are still parts of the world that are particularly notorious, but professional thieves make an art out of distraction to part people from their valuables.  We have to consider what we're up against and counter our tendency to think that it could not happen to us.

Rosalind: The anti-pickpocketing websites I have seen suggest that fiddling rather obviously with your handbag will only allow a pickpocket to identify where you keep your valuables, and if it's a typical ladies' purse, chances are you will not feel it as it is relatively far from your body.  Or they may simply cut the strap with a razor.  In places rife with pickpockets, a clip or strap worn under the clothing is recommended.  Just thought you might like this information for your protection.

Trevor: I imagine it is for the same reason you might pay millions for an original Monet -- exactly as you suggested, a combination of things like name, history, rarity.  Today I might be able to make an accurate reproduction of 'Waterlilies' or even paint something new in his style, and that would make me a skilled imitator, not necessarily an innovator.

December 24, 2010 at 10:02 PM ·

Partially good news to report. The police in London have charged three persons with theft of the violin, two of whom cannot be named for legal reasons. The violin has not yet been recovered but it appears the police have an idea where it may be heading.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/23/three-charged-over-stradivarius-violin

December 25, 2010 at 02:56 AM ·

If you ever find a 600 GBP bow that performs as well as a Pecatte, buy it and guard it with your life. 

And then, please tell the rest of us where we can find one, too.

December 25, 2010 at 10:20 AM ·

Ach!! Always hearing about these dim-witted soloists losing, leaving in taxi cabs and tripping over their Stradivaris.  Ridiculous.  I blame them and I have no mercy unless they were mugged and had the instruments taken by brute force (and even then they had better have put up a good fight!).  My violin is barely worth a small fraction of what a violin like that would cost but it never leaves my sight unless it is locked up securely.  You don't let something so precious get carried off by some hooligan while you're having dinner.  That's stupid.  

December 26, 2010 at 08:34 PM ·

Partially good news to report. The police in London have charged three persons with theft of the violin, two of whom cannot be named for legal reasons. The violin has not yet been recovered but it appears the police have an idea where it may be heading.

Suggesting to me that the whole thing was planned from a high level, with Ms Kym staked out when she was in London, and the "young thugs" not knowing the full story or the value of the instrument.

December 26, 2010 at 10:00 PM ·

Think about carrying equivalent value in cash, and act accordingly.

December 27, 2010 at 12:08 AM ·

Ah, David, it is worth more than that. Cash you could possibly replace with any other cash. This is more valuable. I have a violin that cost much much less than my car, but I would rather have someone steal the car than the violin.

December 27, 2010 at 12:58 AM ·

Except that cash is much more marketable on the street than a rare-- and famous-- violin.

December 27, 2010 at 01:17 AM ·

less - but not unmarketable... there is always someone that simply wants to possess the unpossessable (same with art)

December 27, 2010 at 04:27 AM ·

You know, if she was stalked for some time and the violin taken that way, it's almost inevitable that it would be stolen.  No one is vigilant all the time, really.  We think we are, but we all relax at least a little bit ... and when you have people motivated to watch you 24/7, they will find the weak spot.  I agree that, if that thing were mine, I wouldn't take it off my shoulder unless I were in a safe place ... but we all say that until we need to blow our noses or drink from a water fountain.  *sigh*

I hope it's found again, and I hope the people who stole it are put in jail for a very, very long time.  Actually, the fact that they were caught and are likely to take the fall for a rich, unseen patron makes another such event less likely.  They will either sing like a bird on him -- and hence make the idea of ripping off a rare violin less attractive that way -- or else, they will go to jail for a very long time while Mr. Moneybags gets off unscathed ... making it less likely that another cadre of street thugs will do the same dirty work in the future.

Failing either of those possibilities, they will sing on him and find themselves at the bottom of the Thames.  Either way, it went pear-shaped on them, and they deserve it.

December 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM ·

"I'm thinking chains and handcuffs here at a minimum. Even its own security man."

There's always the possibilty of having your hand hacked off. It's happened before (albeit not with a violin case attached). Chains and handcuffs advertise extreme high value. Some crooks are beyond ruthless, as we all know.

A personal security man would be a better deterrant.

December 27, 2010 at 03:31 PM ·

Chains and handcuffs advertise extreme high value. Some crooks are beyond ruthless, as we all know.

@Jim, On the other end of the spectrum, duct tape can do wonders to make something look broken and worthless.  When I have something of value and I do not want it to be stolen, I just wrap some duct tape around it.  Would be thieves will past right by, not even giving it a second look. :-)

December 27, 2010 at 05:19 PM ·

@Jim & Smiley,

I use aromatherapy. My car smells like dog (I have two rather large ones, and they usually ride in the back). As everything in the car must get the aroma, I do not have any losses, even when I leave the windows open. That is why I deduced it is the dog aroma....but maybe it is two sets of teeth attached to 90 pound beasties!

December 27, 2010 at 06:15 PM ·

@Roland and Smiley - good ideas! On that line, some years back I walked out of a major bank carrying a small black case full of tools. It was a busy street, filled with people. I noticed three dodgy-looking men walking behind me, and every time I slowed my pace, they did too - a sure sign of being followed. I put the case on the ground, opened it up pretending to be looking for something, and untied my shoelace. I was all ready to spin round and scream in their faces at full volume, if they moved toward the case, but they just glanced at the contents and kept walking. I was shaking afterwards! I'd never carry anything of high value without an escort / bodyguard. Some kind of quick-to-use deterrent would be good too, but just about everything in that line is illegal to carry / use in the UK.

December 27, 2010 at 06:44 PM ·

Honestly, this is why I don't want a super-expensive viola.  I don't want to be worried about throwing myself in front of a bullet for the thing.  However, I do take it out of my car when I'm going someplace still -- partly because I don't want to leave it in a closed car, but partly because a lot of people think violins are "worth something," and I don't want my window smashed out and my dear little thousand-dollar baby stolen because some idiot thinks they can break into a 2006 Suzuki  with 70,000 miles on it and score a Strad. o_O

December 27, 2010 at 11:00 PM ·

Lets just hope she's not reading your posts, or she really won't be happy, Mr Badd Cadd :)

December 27, 2010 at 11:42 PM ·

As a variation of the aromatherapy techmique I mentioned earier, I admit I have used another similar approach for photo equipment; don't use a camera bag use a diaper bag.
I'm not sure how to translate that to a violin or viola, but maybe just paste a lot of stickers to the outside of the case:
"You to can be debt free! Ask me how!!!!"
"Feet hurt! New Advanced Technology CyberSocks can cure!!!"

That should keep anyone from wanting to approach you!

December 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM ·

An ex-leader of mine once left his violin in the back of his car, and covered it with his coat to hide it from view. Someone broke in and stole the coat!

 

December 28, 2010 at 12:02 AM ·

Janis wrote : "I hope it's found again, and I hope the people who stole it are put in jail for a very, very long time."

Unfortunately, in the UK now, they'll probably get a caution, or community service if they're really unlucky. Unless they've got loads of previous, in which case they might even get a 6 week suspended sentence.

 

December 28, 2010 at 12:36 AM ·

Most of the time, if thieves steal a violin, they have no idea what it is, or how to use it to best financial advantage. Typically, it will end up being sold for dirt. The price of a few fixes, or something.

Some art world stuff has been more targeted, and disappeared into the fancier realm, as Janis brought up.

Personally, I believe that all of us have a basic and discoverable sense of ethics, and moral underpinnings. These can be corrupted by various things, including  addiction to various things. The addiction list can go beyond drugs to include personal financial enrichment. So be cautious and be aware.

But what I'd mostly like to stress is how many truly golden people I've dealt with in our music business. Most of them have been willing to trust me, and I've been able to trust them for significant amounts of money, with little more than a phone call and an email "handshake". Violinists, please give yourselves a pat on the back (if it won't cause injury).

December 28, 2010 at 04:57 AM ·

 I have to say David-- I have been very impressed with the violin world.

Before Christmas, I went to try out new violins at my local luthier. I had one I really liked and the assistant offered to let me take the top 2 home to try for a week. I didn't feel comfortable taking both of them home (I just knew I could get into a car accident, have a house fire, victim of a theft, etc) and I said I would just take the one I really liked home to let my violin teacher review.

I was shocked that all they wanted was my name and address-- no deposit, no proof of identification, nothing. They knew my violin teacher because I had told them her name and she was also a customer there but in general that was all that was required. The case they sent home with the violin was far nicer than even my old violin. 

I have taken saddles out on trial in the horse world and horses where you had to leave a check or pay with your credit card a deposit or even the full amount of the saddle or horse. Of course as I have experience with a former close friend who happened to be my horse's trainer-- the horse world can be pretty shady. It was rather unsettling to see the trust factor of my local luthier. I mean the case and violin alone was worth more than I have ever paid for a horse much less a saddle!

At any rate, I told this to my violin teacher who then said she never knew of anyone ever lifting a violin or anything like that-- she didn't think it uncommon at all. All in all I was still impressed.

 

December 28, 2010 at 02:39 PM ·

Quite a few years ago the leader of my local orchestra took his violin into a local violin dealer/luthier for something to be done to it.  The luthier hung it on a peg temporarily until the current bench job was completed, and then discovered a few hours later that the violin had vanished. Someone had come into the shop, grabbed the violin and departed swiftly.  I don't think that violin was ever recovered.  Since then, it has been standard practice for violin dealers in my town to lock their entrance door so that a customer has to ring a bell for admittance.

Something less serious more recently – another violin shop had just finished a major building refurbishment. Shortly after it re-opened you'd see a battered cello hanging on the wall alongside the "For Sale" instruments with a note attached to it saying "Found in workshop". That was a good talking point. Apparently, the repair ticket had got lost during the refurbishment, nobody could remember who had brought it in, and no one had come in to claim it.  However, it was identified some weeks later as a school cello (hence the battered appearance) brought in for attention, so it was duly reunited with its lawful owner.

December 28, 2010 at 03:38 PM ·

According to the Guardian news report, the police said the stolen items could be "held within the travelling community."   Sounds odd.  Is that British police talk?

December 28, 2010 at 06:41 PM ·

John, if you search "Min-Jin Kym" on Amazon mp3 or iTunes store, you will find her Lalo/Sarasate/Prokofiev album available for download.  You can sample excerpts of the 11 tracks.

December 31, 2010 at 02:16 AM ·

Y Cheung - the term "travelling community" is a British politically correct description for people one would normally call "gypsies".   A social group notoriously responsible in the UK for crime outbreaks - things like stolen cars and goods, social benefit fraud, shoplifting, drugs, even stealing local residents' pets from gardens etc.    The police probably reckon the violin and bows are hidden on some caravan site.

December 31, 2010 at 04:40 PM ·

 Wrong! Gypsies have very little in common with Travellers.

Also to condemn a whole social group as "being notoriously responsible in the UK for crime outbreaks" is unfair and untrue.

http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/difference-between-gypsies-and-travellers/

 

December 31, 2010 at 06:35 PM ·

 Well said John. It's a shame that  many minorities are still subject to social stereo-typing, usually the ones least able to defend themselves.

 

June 7, 2011 at 04:37 PM ·

Here is an update on the thieves:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1362314/Thieves-tried-sell-violinists-1-2m-Stradivarius-100-face-prison.html

They tried to sell it fo L100.   but now there is no record....

 

June 7, 2011 at 08:19 PM ·

If the violin was insured and I presume it would be, when does the Insurance pay out. Now when the violin is found who does the violin belong to, the Insurance company or Ms Kym. With stolen cars the Insurer becomes the owner of a paid out policy. Will that also be the case with something as valuable as a Stradivarius violin. 

Can anyone with personal experience enlighten me.

June 7, 2011 at 08:30 PM ·

I think thats what happened before to a strad that was stolen - the insurance paid and when found they owned.

Would make a pretty good novel theme where the insurance company pays to have the valuable item (say violin) stolen so that they can buy it at the insured (below market value) rate....

Don't want to give anyone any malicious ideas of course ....

June 7, 2011 at 10:19 PM ·

"

The Dublin-born crook has received 'every sentence the courts can give' for string of 123 convictions.

Judge Deva Pillay remanded Maughan in custody, to be sentenced next month, while the teenagers are on bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared.

The judge said: 'All options are open.

'The inevitability is going to be I suspect one of custody and that is what all three of you must be prepared for.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1362314/Thieves-tried-sell-violinists-1-2m-Stradivarius-100-face-prison.html#ixzz1OdCYq8jj"

 

I don't understand Europe, or the UK for that matter. They let repeat offenders wander the streets.  This guy should have been locked up for life a looooong time ago.

June 9, 2011 at 05:51 AM ·

Hey, a gun license in England is (a) rare and (b) probably the most secure, best identification you could have!

June 9, 2011 at 11:24 AM ·

Yup.  If you have a gun licence in England your name probably starts with Officer; Corporal, Your Lordship or Sir...  Its not the same as in the US....

June 10, 2011 at 05:37 PM ·

 There is an alarm you can buy for children who run away. Basically it is a two part device, one part for the child and one for the parent. When the child gets too far from the parent an alarm sounds. Violinists with expensive instruments would be wise to use something like this with one part in the case. If the instrument is snatched an alarm goes off. The chase is another matter!

 

Google child alarm or proximity alarm. There are lots of different ones.

June 11, 2011 at 05:09 PM ·

Bill Platt said :

"I don't understand Europe, or the UK for that matter. They let repeat offenders wander the streets. "

Bill, a lot of us living here don't understand it either. It isn't what we voted for.

They want to decrease the prison population to save money. A retired magistrate a few years back suggested that the best way to do that is to INCREASE sentences so you know that if you're caught, you're going down. At the moment, the criminals are so used to yet another community order etc., they are surprised if they ever are sent to prison.

June 11, 2011 at 05:16 PM ·

Malcolm:  that is very interesting. I work internationally and what I find fascinating is that individual people from all around the world pretty much want same things, but every country is completely screwed up in some way--and the people cannot seem to figure out how to get the govmt straightened out about it........

 

Christopher:  one has to wonder why people with instruments like this do not take such simple precautions. Proximity alarms go waaaaaaay back, GPS is 20 years old, cell phones etc.  I suppose it all comes down to you have to believe yourself fallible first, and second then act on it with technological aids.

March 3, 2013 at 12:51 PM · Finally some good news?

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4821802/12m-rare-violin-uncovered-in-Bulgaria-police-sting-was-stolen-from-Euston-cafe.html

March 4, 2013 at 05:00 PM · Of course - if every one of the overpriced old masters' instruments were all stolen and lost for good we would just have to appreciate all the good reasonably priced modern and contemporary instruments ...

The comment about taking out instruments on trial is an interesting one - yes, I have often walked out of dealers shops here in London and elswhere with instruments and bows worth quite a bit (Fiddles and violas around £10,000) without a question. And with some they haven't really known me as far as I know, uless they maybe had seen the odd "wanted" notice.

By the way John, I hope your wife has let you out of the cellar by now. I bet it was cold down there ...

March 4, 2013 at 06:51 PM · Peter: maybe they are letting you borrow the lemons and they are hoping you will steal them so that they can get the insurance...

You can tell by the scowl when you bring them back. "Thank you for returning the violins sir, but are you sure you would not like to take on a trip - to Bulgaria for example??"

March 6, 2013 at 10:38 AM · John

I've never had a problem getting into the British Library even with the security on the door. But then I'm a harmless honest looking guy and I never have my machine gun violin case with me when I go there. I always leave my Guanarius in the Rolls with the chauffeur.

I never take my Strad with me anyway because I know the gypsys love to play Hungarian Dances on strads and a refusal often offends ...

July 30, 2013 at 01:59 PM · Latest news (looks good):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23499902

[edit added] Further information, including a police photo of the violin as found, here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2381217/

July 30, 2013 at 07:43 PM · Good. Now we can all call it "Ex-Stolen"!

July 31, 2013 at 12:19 AM · I don't understand your thinking, John. You trussed your wife up in duct tape and she was STILL able to say something?

July 31, 2013 at 01:13 AM · How about "Once stolen, twice found".

July 31, 2013 at 05:36 PM · While happy and thankful that the Strad was recovered, I notice in the photo that the case is kept in a cheap, far-east manufacture case made out of styrofoam!! And the fit to the instrument is visibly miserable.

So that Strad isn't out of the woods yet, if this is how the owner keeps it. There are plenty of professional grade cases out there, with prices for every pocket, reason for which there is simply NO EXCUSE to use a $100 case for a million-plus Strad.

July 31, 2013 at 06:20 PM · Dimitri,

I agree that it deserves one of your top-line products. I can assure that I will buy one as soon as I get my next Stradivarius or Guarneri.

But .... your assumption is the the thieves kept the original CASE, which may not be the casE in this cAse.

Chances are that they discarded the original CaSe soon after the theft to avoid being caught.

July 31, 2013 at 06:33 PM · Dimitri - in response to your comment, let me tell you a story about the famous violinist Oscar Shumsky courtesy of one of my teachers who studied with him. He was apparently totally paranoid about his Strad getting stolen. To avoid this, he wore a beat-up old raincoat and a carried the violin in a case that looked as if it had been through the last war in the trenches. One day, at the beginning of a school year, he came to Yale looking like some bum who played the violin. Once he walked in the door, a new student who did not know who Shumsky was, approached Shumsky and asked if Shumsky needed help. Shumsky got very offended. Anyhow, there may be a reason for the choice of case. It would not be my choice, but, ....

July 31, 2013 at 06:39 PM · I thought I was clear enough, but I guess not.

There are several good manufacturers of protective cases that will suffice for a Strad in most circumstances. However the case in the photo is a joke that will collapse if you press onto the lid with your hand. I'm familiar with that model. To carry a Strad in a case like that is irresponsible.

Even those who have expensive cases can easily hide them under a slip-on cover, making them as nondescript as possible in order to avoid unwanted attention.

If you can afford a Strad, you can afford a decent case made by one of the more accredited case makers. That Strad doesn't belong to you even if you're the owner - it belongs to Humanity. As its caretaker, you have precise responsibilities.

July 31, 2013 at 08:38 PM · Tom and Dmitri,

You can have the best of both worlds. All you need is a little dirt and duct tape. Get one of Dmitri's fine cases, roll it around in the dirt then put some duct tape on it. You should be good to go. Put the Vieuxtemps Del Gesu in there and it will be safe and sound.

On a related note, I had several pairs of swim fins stolen from me at the pool. When I got my third pair, I put some duct tape on them and I still have them to this day. I can leave them at the pool for a week and they will still be there. They might not look pretty, but they work perfectly.

Lesson: duct tape fixes everything :-)

July 31, 2013 at 09:09 PM · .... and if it does not, use WD-40.

July 31, 2013 at 09:42 PM · I wonder if the bows have also been recovered. There is part of a bow visible in the police photo, and I hope it is one of them.

I'm inclined to agree with previous posters that the thieves, presumably experienced in their nefarious activities, got rid of the original case and substituted a rubbish one in order to cover their tracks - that might account for the bridge collapse.

I note that the police investigation continues.

July 31, 2013 at 09:47 PM · i'm more taken with the photo of the guy who stole it. this is how the world ends ... some innocuous, hind-most-part-of-the-human-anatomy-hole doing only what he or she does best.

July 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM · WD-40 won't keep your wife quiet, Rocky!

August 1, 2013 at 12:09 AM · Bill, even worse, they're not exactly an endangered species.

August 1, 2013 at 12:27 AM · John,

If you know how to keep the wife quiet, let me know when you are free. I'll fly anywhere in the world and buy you a beer :-)

August 1, 2013 at 04:54 AM · Trevor,

re:- "I wonder if the bows have also been recovered."

According to The Daily Telegraph :-

"The Stradivarius was recovered in its case along with Miss Kym’s missing £62,000 Peccatte bow and a second bow made by the School of Bazin, valued at over £5,000."

@ Dimitri and others, this is clearly a worst-case scenario.

August 1, 2013 at 07:17 AM · Smiley, I would have thought that it was obvious that a slight extension of the published John Cadd Duct Tape Method would keep the wife quiet (I haven't tried it yet, partially because I'm not married yet) - or do we have to think again because your wife is related to Harry Houdini?

However, I think your promise about flying anywhere in the world and buying me a beer is vain. There are places the MAF flies to where you couldn't buy a beer.

August 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM · So apparently it is as I feared... THAT was the original case!

I can name two household-name soloists that keep their Stradivari in the same model case as the one pictured, that will collapse if you press your weight onto the lid with your hand, and I continue to consider this irresponsbile behavior.

When I asked one of these superstars, "did you know your violin could be easily crushed in this case?" she shrugged and answered, "it hasn't ever happened."

This carelessness unfortunately reflects the feelings of many concert artists.

August 1, 2013 at 12:20 PM · The case shown in the picture looks like the same kind of junky thing that you'd see at string camp cradling a $500 VSO.

CSO: Case-shaped object.

If the violin "belongs" to her outright, then there is little one can do, although it would be kind of fun to take up a collection on violinist.com to buy her a decent violin case. I'm in for $20.

If the violin "belongs" to a sponsor or collector, then that person or institution needs to get with the program and protect its investment by insisting that she store and carry the violin in a properly constructed, fitted, and secured case.

Smiley -- I love the duct tape idea, but there are good and bad ways to put duct tape on a violin case. You don't want any of those little wrinkles ... the job is best left to a qualified case maker or master luthier.

August 1, 2013 at 03:58 PM · The best solution is to use a double violin case-- which looks like a viola case. :-)

August 3, 2013 at 07:35 AM · According to the

"daily Torygraph :-

"The Stradivarius ... Miss Kym’s missing £62,000 Peccatte bow and a second bow made by the School of Bazin, valued at over £5,000."

They obviously believed the exaggerated claims of value declared to scam the insurance for a much lesser Strad, and about three times the actual market value of a Peccatte or Bazin.

I don't know where they dream up those figures.

When was the last time you saw anyone pay more than about 1K for a cheap Mirecourt school spare bow?

You can also get a good Peccatte for at least 1/3 of the value hyped here.

If you can believe the massive hype, it starts to sound about as fishy a story from start to finish as our "friend from France" who "lost" the Kochankski, then wrote a book about it, netting him more than he would ever have earned as a "normal" soloist.

He has since got the reputation as one of the best violin clown acts....

It is suggested that violin theft was all carefully "arranged" and the "miraculous recovery" taking the form of a detective thriller was no more than a clever set-up.

The fact is, the whole thing always ends up being a massive media sob story which gives the artist hype, the most wonderful publicity, especially if they are almost unknown, and propels them into the limelight & sympathy of all the concert organisers overnight.

Sensible people don't leave 1 000 000 in US treasury bills in some sort of fast food joint on some table, they have it strapped over their shoulder or always taped to their body.

A fiddle and bows is the same.

I don't believe half the story, and almost none of the sums adds up.

I can understand someone coming along in a train and nicking your lap top while you are asleep, if you are stupid enough not to have the straps draped over your shoulder.

I have gone all over the world with a fiddle, and a lap top, and the thieves have invariably tried to go for the lap top

(Twice on St Petersburg metro alone).

August 3, 2013 at 09:17 AM · Now there's a good point indeed. If a musician was travelling with a box containing $1 million cash, would he/she be as careless?

I don't think so. It's clearly a mindset issue.

August 3, 2013 at 06:32 PM · @Gareth, well there a few interesting scenarios, but I would have expected the police and the insurers to have borne them in mind during the course of their investigations (the police side of which is apparently still on-going).

@Stephen, an equally good solution would be a violin case inside a cello case. Cellos aren't quite so well known for being stolen, but when it comes to leaving them in cabs ...

August 3, 2013 at 06:37 PM · This and the thread referring to multimillion dollar instruments being kept in cheap cases has me thinking.

Is there a mindset that has to occur at that high level of performance. Must a person who can use such an expensive instrument learn to treat it as a tool or partner and ignore its monetary value. Or even its irreplaceable nature.

I would not want to touch such an expensive fragile instrument. Just holding it would make me nervous enough to be unsafe.

I don't know. I don't test drive Aston Martins or Rolls and I don't ask to try a Strad or even someones Burgess. Actually I'm hesitant to try anyone's instrument I wish some people would not just walk over a pick up one of mine, but it has happened.

I don't think I could ever let my UCWV (Unlabeled Chinese Workshop Violin) out of my sight, but then again I did not grow up taking violins with me everywhere I go.

August 4, 2013 at 05:45 AM · Patrick, I really don't get it either.

Even if an A-list soloist ignores the monetary value of their Strad, it remains for them an inseparable daily companion which with a profound emotional dialogue has been created. It is to an extent priceless, because with another instrument the soloist will not be able to play the same.

And yet, so many people don't understand how, for example, in a cheap case a small bump can result in a crack, meaning the violin must be opened up and repaired, after which it almost invariably isn't 100% the same any more.

Not to mention, of course, that the slightest repair to a Strad will cost more than even the most expensive case, making the savings illusory.

August 4, 2013 at 07:01 AM · They do it because they think the old case will be less likely to be stolen, silly!!!

August 4, 2013 at 08:42 AM · I just recently managed to purchase a Musafia luxury dart case (thank you Dimitri and Lorenzo). I had saved all year, I was extremely lucky because the model/colour I had planned to order was there in the discount gallery (on my birthday), and so it was about $400.00 cheaper than I had saved, but I was prepared to pay the full amount that morning.

I had been going on and on about it to my husband and mother in law, telling little fibs about how much it cost to be honest so that he wouldn't flip out about it. And when it eventually arrived I'm trying not to hug it in its beautiful understated sable cordura and cardinal red velvet, and husband just - looked - at it. Because the value of the case is understated quality and protection, it's not in bling.

As I said to him, even though my violin is at best worth maybe $10, 000, its also irreplaceable, there is likely not another one exactly like it anywhere, and the fact that it was given to me with such an act of kindness means that I have an obligation to take care of it the best that I can. Because of its unusually long pegbox, the only case I could fit it into before I could afford the Musafia, was one of the cheapie chinese foamies, and I panicked every time I set foot outside the door.

I'm not willing to donate a brass button to buying this lass a good case, but I will pay for internet access for her so she can sit herself down and look at Dimitri's website to see why it matters.

August 4, 2013 at 09:24 AM · Thank you Sharelle for your kind words! I just want to say that there are also other good, safe cases out there, not just mine.

But one does have to look for them with safety as priority, and I hope one day that more people will do so because it's the right thing for our precious violins, so other manufacturers will stop cutting corners and bringing unsafe cases to the market.

Which brings to mind a question that a Harvard undergrad once asked me: "Say, Dimitri, if these Stradivari violins are so great, how come they don't make them any more?" (true story!!)

By most accounts Stradivari made 1,100 instruments: and about 660 survive today. And no, they don't make 'em any more. Let's try to make sure the remaining ones last into the future too.

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