Stories about lost or stolen violins

December 2, 2012 at 10:40 PM · Losing an instrument is clearly one of the most frightening and stressful experiences that a musician can have. Having researched the issues of instrument theft and loss extensively, I am always interested to hear more about the circumstances under which people lose their instruments. Some of the most famous musicians in the world have had their instruments stolen, including multi-million dollar Strads. Others have accidentally left them behind in taxis or on buses, only to realize too late that they were missing. Many thieves fail to recognize the value of the instruments that they steal, and they often try to sell them for a few dollars to pawn shops or other dealers.

I would be very interested to hear stories from others who have experienced these types of losses, and to hear what you did to try to recover your instrument. Under what circumstances was it stolen or lost? Were you able to get your instrument and/or case back? Was it recognized as stolen by a savvy dealer who called the police? Did an honest cab driver or bus driver return it to you?

Replies (32)

December 3, 2012 at 11:33 PM · Some tips:

Never leave the instrument's documents in the case.

Always keep good photos of the instrument (back, table, scroll, label, in the angles you see in violin books). These photos are very usefull in such cases. A detailed description of the instrument made by an expert is usefull too.

Always keep your instrument insured.

December 4, 2012 at 01:34 AM · Luis, those are excellent tips - thank you for sharing. I will be sure to pass those along to our customers so that if they ever have their instruments stolen, or if they accidentally leave them behind somewhere, they will be able to clearly identify the instruments as their own when they are found. The case itself could be identified as belonging to the owner by the serial number, but it would be important to be able to prove that the instrument actually belonged to them as well. I would imagine that this type of proof would be important to the police in order for them take possession of the instrument.

Maintaining these types of documents would actually increase your level of safety while working to recover a stolen instrument because you would never have to personally interact with a potentially dangerous thief. If you were to keep those types of detailed photos and expert descriptions on hand, you could share them directly with the police and they would be able to confirm that the instrument was actually yours upon arriving at the thief's location. In theory, you wouldn't have to be present or directly involved in the recovery at all.

December 6, 2012 at 09:46 PM · In the case of loss, a card in the case is very helpfull too!

December 6, 2012 at 10:57 PM · Good point! Hard for the HONEST person to return a violin that has no ID tag!!

Note to self.... :)

December 7, 2012 at 02:43 AM · For some stories of loss and recovery of famous violins, go to: http://lostfiddle.blogspot.com/

December 7, 2012 at 08:41 PM · Luis, a card or ID tag is another good suggestion. As Elise said, you would definitely need to rely on the kindness of an honest person to return it to you, but it certainly couldn't hurt! There are definitely a few stories out there about instruments having been returned to their owners by honest people, but as Brent's link shows, unfortunately that is not the most common scenario.

Brent, thank you for sharing the lostfiddle link - very interesting. It is amazing - and truly scary - how long it often takes to recover these valuable instruments when all the owner has to rely on is the hope that someone will recognize it and provide a reliable tip. Some stolen instruments go missing for decades, if they are ever recovered at all! Many of these thefts occur as a result of break-ins into homes (or even mansions and "compounds") that people believe to be secure. If you aren't able to track down your instrument's location after it is stolen or lost, all you can really do is hope that someone reads about it at some point, recognizes the instrument, and calls the police so that they can attempt to recover it - like the sting operation that recovered the 1721 ex-Sinsheimer/Iselin Strad # 1505, which was a truly amazing, dangerous, and risky way to recover such a valuable instrument.

December 9, 2012 at 05:42 PM · Contacting luthiers and dealers in your area and sending them a description and photos of the instrument is essential in this case.

December 10, 2012 at 02:49 AM · Luis, that is another good idea. I would be very interested to hear from luthiers or dealers who have come across stolen instruments, and to hear how they handled those situations.

December 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM · If an instrument is stolen, sending photos and a description to local pawn shops is also a good idea, since police don't have time to do this.

An honest pawn shop will contact the police if someone tries to sell them an instrument you've identified as stolen and a dishonest one will be nervous about accepting a stolen one if they know you are actively trying to recover your instrument.

These days, you have to check Craig's List, as well, to see if someone is trying to sell it. Thieves might not list it right away; they may wait a few weeks.

The most important photo in your collection of photos is the back, since the flames on each instrument are unique, like a fingerprint (with the exception of some of the composite or "painted-flame" cheapo factory instruments, but those are better off lost than recovered).

December 18, 2012 at 02:33 PM · I have one story to tell, it wasn't my violin that I lost, but it could have been.

I was traveling in Europe between the train station and the airport, but had to retrieve a few things from a train station locker first. I put my bag down next to me as I crouched to open the lower locker. It was touching my knee and I only took my hands off it for about 8 seconds.

As I reached to pick up my bag, two refugees from another country (known to the police) came up behind me. One put his hand over my face on the left-hand side while the other grabbed my bag and ran. Before I could get the hand out of my face, he was off and running too.

No hope of catching them and even if I did, it's not safe to chase thieves and muggers into back alleys of unfamiliar cities. They may have accomplices waiting there.

There were several witnesses but no one thought to stick out a leg to trip them and no one wanted to get involved.

I had heirlooms in the bag equivalent in value to a decent violin, that had been given to me by my grandmother. It was a heartwrenching loss, but I remind myself (frequently) that it could have been worse if they had been carrying a tire iron.

December 18, 2012 at 10:48 PM · J, I like your idea about contact pawn shops with details about your instrument. I also like your idea about checking postings on Craigslist. Most thieves have no idea how much these stolen instruments are worth, and many would not even consider the unique marks and other identifying characteristics that would allow the owner or a dealer to identify it. They often just want to get rid of the stolen instrument, and to get whatever they can for it.

Thank you for sharing your story, and I was very sorry to hear about the loss of your valuable family heirlooms. Unfortunately that sort of thing happens much more often than many people realize, and as you said, it could just as easily have been a violin that the thieves stole from you. Coincidentally, we recently received a call from a violinist with one of the top U.S. orchestras who was looking for a case with GPS tracking capabilities because one of his colleagues had been robbed at gun point. The thieves took the valuable violin, in its case, right out of his colleague's hands.

Below is a link to a story about a renown violinist who had a very similar experience to the one that you had in the train station, but with an extremely valuable Strad and bows. As you can see in the article, even a career thief had no idea how much the $2,000,000 Strad that he stole was worth - he tried to sell it to a stranger for $160.

Thieves tried to sell £1.2 million stolen Stradivarius violin for £100 in café

Hopefully the thief will try to sell your stolen instrument locally, but the truth is that it can end up anywhere. If you are lucky, your instrument will end up in the hands of a trustworthy dealer or pawn shop owner, but as you can see from the lostfiddle.blogspot.com article below, that is not always how things play out.

"A prominent cellist in Hong Kong currently plays an instrument which by all appearances is that (which was) stolen from Luxembourgian performer, Pierre Gerbaud, in 1999. It was made in Milan in 1719 by Paolo Antonio Testore, and has several unique, identifying features, including an open peg box, glued-in wings in the back and front plates, knots below each ff-hole, and an identifying original label. It also has a "procession hole," allowing attachment of the back of the cello to a belt or harness for playing while walking. These features have enabled the owner to I.D. his instrument with a very high degree of certainty. The cellist in Hong Kong has so far refused to return the instrument. He claims he purchased it in Italy in 2000, but has not, as yet, named the seller."

December 21, 2012 at 09:22 AM · So Gabriel, it must be possible to just purchase a chip and implant it yourself in your violin case. Can you suggest how we can do that?

December 27, 2012 at 07:04 AM · Elise, thanks for your question and please excuse my delayed response. Unfortunately there is no "chip" that can you can buy to implant in your case. While that idea certainly sounds nice, the realities of accurately tracking lost objects - particularly valuable and fragile objects like violins and bows - are significantly more complex, and they involve the use of several different advanced technologies that are designed to work together seamlessly. Below is an explanation of how GPS tracking works and why it is not as simple as just buying and implanting a "chip" in your violin case.

There are a couple of different technologies that can be used to locate missing objects, but GPS is by far the most accurate and most reliable. Advanced GPS systems calculate their locations by communicating with satellites that orbit the earth. Some very advanced GPS systems use both GPS and cellular communication to help establish the device's location quickly.

GPS devices can vary SIGNIFICANTLY in terms of quality and reliability. Just like your smart phone, car, or computer, GPS devices are comprised of many different parts. These part all serve different functions, and they work together to allow the device to do what it needs to do. If the manufacturer of a GPS device uses cheap parts in order to save money (as some do), the accuracy and reliability of that device will be compromised. The devices that we tested in our research were not nearly as accurate or reliable as we needed them to be, and they would have essentially been useless if you tried to use them to recover your lost or stolen instrument.

Once a GPS device has determined its geographic location, it translates that location information into a code. The device then sends that code to a server that interprets the code. This code would be meaningless to you unless you had a significant computer engineering background, and unless you had detailed information about how to interpret that specific code. Once the server interprets the code, it translates it into something straight forward so the average user can understand the information that is being transmitted.

I will explain a little bit about how our system works in order to give you a deeper understanding of the details of these types of systems. The server interprets a custom string of code so that the location information in the code can be displayed as location points on our satellite-based mapping platform. The code also transmit other relevant information, including time, date, battery levels, speed, direction, safety alarm status information, Geofence information, Motion Alert status (which alerts you if someone has moved your case without your knowledge), etc. As the end user, you see the points on the map indicating where your case is, where it has been, and its various status reports. However, there is a lot going on in the background to make the location points, status reports, and alarm notifications appear simple and straight forward, and to ensure that all of the information being reported is accurate and reliable.

These types of cutting-edge and highly accurate GPS systems are very expensive and time-consuming to create. It took years of constant testing, prototyping, engineering, and consulting with top experts, as well as significant financial investment to create our GPS system. All of the features use proprietary software and code, which, again, was very expensive and time-consuming to create. The final product may appear simple, but there is incredible amount of work involved in the development of these types of systems that allows them to appear simple and easy.

Additionally, in order for a GPS system to work at all, you need a power source that is safe and reliable, and which can store enough energy to power the system for extended periods of time. You also need a simple and reliable method of recharging that power source. Our system is only possible because all of the circuitry and hardware components in the Prodigy violin case (including GPS, climate control, and other components) are fully integrated with one another. Our electronics are also hidden inside a special compartment in the case, and the GPS hardware is unmarked so that a thief will not be able to recognize the GPS hardware as GPS hardware. If you just place a random GPS device inside a violin case, a thief could easily throw it away. And as I explained above, in order for any GPS device to useful, it needs to be integrated with a server that can clearly and accurately interpret the information that it provides.

Some people have also suggested that you could implant a tracking device in your instrument, but that is not realistic. In order accomplish this, you would need to develop a GPS device that was infinitely and unrealistically small so that it would not impact the sound, weight, balance, shape, varnish, etc. of your instrument. Then you would need to develop an extremely safe battery that was also infinitely and unrealistically small to power the GPS device (which, in the end would be too small to provide enough energy to power any kind of real-world tracking system). You would also need a way to attach the unrealistically small device and battery to the instrument so that it would not damage the instrument, as well as a skilled luthier who also happened to be an advanced electrical engineer.

Hopefully this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

December 28, 2012 at 02:19 PM · I think that's fine for a lost violin...or perhaps to recover a violin stolen by an opportunistic thief who wouldn't know the value range of violins to begin with...

However, I can't see how it would help in the case of a planned theft. The thief would just toss the case...

December 28, 2012 at 05:51 PM · N.A., our research has shown that most thieves who steal violins usually do not know the value of the instruments that they steal. A good example is the link that I included in my response on this thread from Dec. 18. You can see that even a career thief had no idea that the violin that he had stolen was a Strad worth almost $2,000,000. If you read the literature you will see that most violin thefts are carried out by opportunistic thieves. For example, a thief will come across a violin during home a robbery, or see a violin case in a compartment near the owner's seat on a train, or see see one sitting underneath a table in a sandwich shop and then take it when the owner looks away. While there are a few stories out there about planned robberies in which the thieves specifically intended to steal valuable violin - like Joshua Bell's experience in a hotel room earlier this year - that type of situation is far from the norm.

It is also in the thief's interest to protect the stolen violin as much as possible so that he can sell it in good condition, and avoid appearing suspicious. A thief who walks into a violin shop to sell a valuable violin without a case, and without any real knowledge of the value of the instrument (which, as I mentioned, is very common) would certainly appear suspicious. Also, as I mentioned in my previous response, the GPS hardware in our case is unmarked and it would be unrecognizable as GPS hardware unless you were a trained electrical engineer with GPS hardware experience. Obviously most thieves do not fall into that category, and they would have to specifically go looking for the GPS hardware in order to find it. If they have no idea that there is GPS tracking hardware embedded inside the case, what incentive would they have to throw a nice-looking case away when it protects the instrument that they hope to profit from, and if they can also possibly make money by selling the case?

I would invite you to do a Google search for the term "stolen violin". You will see countless stories of these types of opportunistic thefts. For reference, you can also see similar stories here: Real World Stories of Stolen and Lost Instruments

December 29, 2012 at 08:22 AM · Another, and really cheap way of making a case trackable if stolen is to hide a small cellphone, switched on to silent mode, inside the case. At least one manufacturer will customize a case with a hidden compartment for this purpose, but there are other ways of hiding a small phone in a violin case.

A cheap ordinary cellphone will remain on in stand-by mode for several days on a full battery charge, transmitting its position to the cellphone grid and thus offering a way to locate the case. If the police are looking for it, they’ll find it right away.

December 29, 2012 at 02:50 PM · Gabriel, thanks for the posts and the extra information!

I have read some of those stories...but not all..

I've just read the rather fascinating theft involving the Gibson Strad, prior to the Joshua Bell incident...

Which, if anyone is interested, is also partially explained on Joshua Bell's website...

Dimitri: I wouldn't have thought of that either. We don't have much in the way of disposable cell phones in my neck of the woods...but that would be a great way to track an instrument for 'occaisional' use, say when travelling...

December 31, 2012 at 09:05 PM · N.A., I agree that the Gibson Strad story is fascinating, and it is amazing to think that it was almost stolen again recently!

While it might be well-intended, to claim that police could easily track down a cheap cell phone placed inside a violin case, and that the police would "find it right away" is very misleading. Cell phone accounts are private and they are closely controlled by cellular service providers. Before any kind of tracking could take place at all, you would first need to convince both the police and your cellular service provider that it was worth their time, effort and money to even attempt to carry out such a task.

The police would have no direct access to any of the cell phone's account information - location or otherwise. The cellular service provider would have to agree to grant the police access to that information, and they could easily refuse. If the cellular provider did agree, the police would then have to coordinate closely with the cellular provider in order to establish even a very rough determination of where the cell phone was located. If you have ever filed a police report or tried to convince the police to help you track down a stolen item, you will know how arduous such a task can be. If you have ever tried to work out a complicated issue with a cellular service provider, you will know how much bureaucracy and frustration is usually involved. And if the thief should move the cell phone to a location that was covered by a different cellular service provider, you are adding a whole new set of problems. By the time you got all of those issues resolved (if you were able to get them resolved at all), and had everyone on board help you track down your instrument, the battery in the phone would have long since died.

Perhaps even more importantly, cellular-based location tracking is often inaccurate and unreliable, and accuracy is often extremely low outside of densely populated urban areas. As Wikipedia explains, "The accuracy of network-based techniques varies, with cell identification as the least accurate... The accuracy of network-based techniques is dependent on the concentration of base station cells... and the implementation of the most current timing methods. One of the key challenges of network-based techniques is the requirement to work closely with the service provider, as it entails the installation of hardware and software within the operator's infrastructure. Often, a legislative framework, such as E911, would need to be in place to compel the cooperation of the service provider as well as to safeguard the privacy of the information."

While it sounds like a nice idea, in my opinion there is really no comparison between cellular-based tracking and GPS tracking. Advanced GPS systems give you as the owner direct, secure, real-time access to accurate location information. These systems also allow the device to self-track and record location history, to track on demand, and to report the device's location to a mapping platform that you as the owner can access at any time. The most advanced GPS systems can also send out motion alerts and other alarms to alert you when someone steals your case, as well as other important location-based information.

December 31, 2012 at 10:11 PM · Actually, almost every service provider will allow you to turn on gps tracking info on the phone and check it yourself online. This is something some parents do to their children's phones so as to be able to know where the kids are at all times. Many even have a service which will text you if the phone leaves a certain area.

December 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM · Adrian, you are referring to "GPS tracking", not cellular network tracking. Most cheap cell phones do not contain GPS tracking hardware, so you cannot use GPS tracking technology to locate them. More expensive cell phones and smart phones contain GPS tracking hardware, but the GPS function on those phones drains the battery very quickly - usually in a matter of hours. That is why smart phones give you the option to turn GPS on or off. The battery will last much longer, but with much lower tracking accuracy, when the GPS is turned off. There are also often fees associated with these cellular phone tracking services on top of the normal monthly cell phone plan costs.

The alert-linked boundaries that you are referring to are called Geofences, and they are usually based on GPS systems. If you were to use a smart phone with GPS hardware (which is not what was originally suggested), you would only have Geofences to rely on for any kind of notification of movement. You would also have to hope that the thief actually crossed one of those boundaries in order for you to receive any notifications at all - not exactly a reliable system. Otherwise you would never know that the instrument was missing or that it had moved, particularly in a break-in type situation such as the one that Joshua Bell experienced in his hotel room. Instrument theft during break-ins is quite common, as you can see in my earlier posts.

You would also have to have both the GPS and the Geofence alerts turned on at all times, which would drain the battery very quickly. In order for this type of setup to be even remotely feasible, you would be forced to constantly take the phone in and out of the case to recharge it, which is very impractical. The phone would be useless whenever it was being recharged. A fully-integrated GPS system is never removed from the case and it is extremely difficult for a thief to locate, detach, or throw away.

January 1, 2013 at 08:04 PM · Actually, my phone; a 20$ flip phone from straight talk, has a gps device in it, and the option to turn location at all times or just during 911 calls. Verizon uses both gps and cell tower tracking info to determine the exact position of the phone.

January 2, 2013 at 02:16 AM · Adrian, I was interested in your comment so I contacted Straight Talk Wireless and asked them which of their flip phones contain GPS hardware. They told me that none of their flip phones contain GPS hardware. I asked several times to make sure that my question was clear and they confirmed repeatedly that not a single one of their flip phones has GPS hardware in them. Please understand that I am not out to prove you wrong. But these are important and interesting issues to me and with all due respect, I think that you may have been misinformed about your phone's capabilities.

I was not saying that it is impossible to turn the GPS on and off in a more expensive phone that does have GPS hardware in it. I was saying that in order to make use of any Geofence features that might be available for such a phone, you would need to have GPS turned on all the time and that would drain the battery very quickly. If you did not have GPS turned on all the time, the phone would be forced to rely on cellular network tracking, which, as I mentioned before, is much less accurate and would essentially be useless for this type of recovery tracking.

I mentioned in an earlier post that some GPS systems do use both GPS and cellular technology to help determine the device's location. This type of technology still relies primarily on GPS communication for tracking/location information. However, these systems can also make use of previously stored satellite information which can be transmitted via the cellular network in order to help the device find its location more quickly in locations where GPS/satellite signals might be poor. The tracking and location accuracy in these systems are still based on GPS, not on cellular network tracking. It is a little complicated, but the cellular communication in these systems essentially serves as a booster to the transmition of GPS data, not as a means of increasing location accuracy. Also, some cellular providers consider this type of GPS/cellular tracking from phones as data usage, and they may charge extra for it.

January 2, 2013 at 02:42 AM · Well, straight talk runs on Verizon's network. Verizon does not allow non-gps capable devices on their network. Here straight from the verizon site: "Because the FCC requires that nearly all wireless devices on a carrier's network have GPS capability, Verizon Wireless does not allow non–GPS wireless devices to be activated on our network. If you upgrade from a non–GPS–capable wireless device to a GPS–capable wireless device and then return it within the return period, Verizon Wireless will not allow the older non–GPS–capable wireless device back on our network. We will, however, allow you to exchange your new wireless device for another GPS–capable wireless device that will meet your needs, subject to the restocking fee." So if you talked to straight talk they b.s.'d you. I know for a fact that my LG straight talk phone has GPS. Also, by 2018 fcc requirements will dictate that ALL cell phones have GPS as cell tower tracking (which is accurate only to 100 ft, wheras gps is accurate to 50ft) is not accurate enough for E911 service. So, once again your 'facts' are misleading people, straight towards your product... coincidence?

January 2, 2013 at 02:58 AM · Clarification: FCC requirements will not force all cell phones to have GPS expressly, but will require that all cell phones are capable of being accurately tracked to 50 ft (which at this time can be done only with GPS).

January 2, 2013 at 03:11 AM · I cannot imagine why Straight Talk would want to give false information about their products, or downplay the capabilities of their products. I spoke to their technical department and that is what they told me. That is a fact. You are more than welcome to call them yourself. I am not giving you any misleading or false information, and I am not forcing anyone to buy our products. If you want to put a cell phone in your case, buy a monthly plan for it, take it out to recharge it once or twice a day, and hope that it will be able to help you recover your valuable instrument, you are more than welcome to do so.

I started this thread because I was interested to hear other people's stories about lost and stolen instruments. Mr. Musafia decided to chime with his idea about cell phones because for a fee he will include a pocket to hold a cell phone (coincidence?). I do not believe that cell phones are a good or reliable solution for protection against theft or recovery of valuable instruments. That is my opinion, and I am not trying to mislead anyone about anything. If I have mentioned our products at all in this thread it was in response to specific questions or comments, and in an effort to explain or clarify how different systems work. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. But in my opinion there is no comparison between throwing a cell phone in your case and using an integrated GPS system with a customizable tracking and alert messaging platform that is design specifically for that purpose.

I would still like to hear other people's stories, and frankly I am not that interested in talking about cell phones, but I was trying to provide some information for people who might be interested. To respond to your clarification, and to repeat myself and the Wikipedia quote that I posted earlier, cellular network tracking accuracy is limited by the availability of cellular towers and other variables so there is no way to guarantee that type of accuracy. Maybe one day there will be, but until then there is not. And as you said, and as I have repeated many times, GPS is much more accurate.

January 2, 2013 at 03:59 AM · I don't think that a cell phone is a good option for tracking a case, my violin is worth such a small amount that I have no need for any such precautions. The only reason I chimed in at all is because I happened to know that your argument that only smartphones and high end phones have GPS was false. The phone that I have is no longer sold by straight talk, however it does have GPs and did cost 20$. Since straight talk runs exclusively on the verizon network and verizon obviously does not allow for non-gps devices to be active on their network I doubt that they have made an exception for straight talk (although it is possible). Mostly though it has occurred to me that I haven't seen you post about anything other than your product, and this thread is clearly a fishing gambit to advertise your services, yet again, in the guise of discussion. This comes across, to me at least, as disingenuous.

January 2, 2013 at 04:28 AM · That is simply untrue and offensive. I have responded to other threads that have nothing to do with our products, and others have responded to this thread with useful feedback about theft protection and recovery tips that were appreciated. To repeat myself again, if you don't want to buy our products, no one is forcing you to and no one is conspiring to try to trick you. I am interested to hear other people's stories about their lost or stolen instruments because these are issues that I have dedicated years of my life to learning more about. It is something that I think about every day, and it is an important issue to me. If you are not interested in these issues that is fine, but there are lots of other people on this site for whom these issues are very real.

I'm glad that your phone has GPS in it. You did not say what kind of phone you had, only that you got it from Straight Talk, and they told me that their flip phones do not have GPS in them. Maybe they used to sell flip phones with GPS in them, but according to them they do not anymore. Perhaps there are some less expensive phones that have GPS in them, but that is certainly not the rule and pricing for phones can vary based on lots of different factors. I did not intend to mislead anyone, I was just trying to explain why I think using a phone is an unreliable option, which we seem to agree on. As you yourself said earlier, Verizon currently allows non-GPS phones to exist on their network, but they seem to be transitioning away from that for the future. There are many other networks around the world other than Verizon with their own policies, but again, I am not really interested in cell phones.

I'm sorry if you feel that this thread is disingenuous, but it is not. Others have expressed appreciation for information that I have provided here, and others have also contributed useful information to this thread that was greatly appreciated. I plan to pass some of that information on to friends, colleagues and customers in order help them better protect their instruments because I am also a conservatory-trained musician who owns multiple string instruments. That is why I became interested in these issues in the first place, and why they are personal and important to me.

January 2, 2013 at 07:40 AM · One comment about Craigslist.

This is a very frequently used way to sell stolen goods, but often they are not sold locally. Look for logical 'corridors'. I live in Portland, OR, and I have heard that many items stolen from this area are sold in the Los Angles, CA area; the freeway going North/South through here is used to transport the goods.

So, for this area, check the Seattle Craigslist, Los Angles Craigslist (Ignore San Francisco; it would be off the main route), and any major cities in between.

January 2, 2013 at 07:52 AM · "Mr. Musafia decided to chime with his idea about cell phones because for a fee he will include a pocket to hold a cell phone (coincidence?)"

Mr. Gunsberg, such a pocket is not in my price list and not shown on my website. I currently do not offer this option.

I "chimed in" only because this happens to be a discussion forum.

January 2, 2013 at 05:45 PM · Roland, that is very interesting, thank you for sharing. I was not aware of this black market corridor on the West Coast. I know many musicians on the West Coast, though, so that is good information to know.

Mr. Musafia, there is an entire page on your website dedicated to the hidden cell phone pocket option: "As of January 2011, in fact, my cases will be offered with an optional hidden compartment built into the structure where a small, inexpensive cellphone (think Nokia Classic or similar) can be hidden away while switched on stand-by in silent mode." Perhaps you have since discontinued this option but I did not see any such indication on that page, so you can see why I might have thought that you still offered it. Perhaps "chimed in" wasn't the best phrasing; while I don't agree, you are of course entitled to your opinion about cell phones.

January 2, 2013 at 08:44 PM · Mr. Gunsberg, you are evidently referring to an editorial I wrote over two years ago, defined and dated as such.

In my post on V.com about the cellphone idea I explicitly did not mention that my company was offering this option. There is no other reference on our website nor in our price lists, nor on any other of my posts on V.com. I repeat, this option is NOT currently available and therefore I was NOT looking for collecting what you called “fees” by taking part in this discussion forum.

However I do still believe that some violinists may find the cellphone idea interesting, and especially so in the near future as cellphone sophistication increases and their prices diminish. Even if I, for one, don’t personally profit by it.

"Qui nimis probat, nihil probat"

January 2, 2013 at 09:14 PM · Thank you for clarifying. Cell phone tracking sophistication is entirely dependent on the GPS and cellular technologies that are available at any given time and in any given location. Perhaps one day in the future cell phones will reach a level at which they would prove useful for this purpose. Until then dedicated GPS tracking systems continue to offer far greater reliability, accuracy and options for customization, regardless of the types of objects that the systems are designed to track.

To get back to the original topic of this thread, it seems to be a recurring theme that violins are regularly stolen from train stations in Europe. J had a similar experience with a bag containing valuable family heirlooms in a European train station, and I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience in train stations Europe or in the US. The Strad recently published an article about an Italian conservatory student who had her violin stolen in a Florence train station, and Min-Jin Kym had a $2,000,000 Strad stolen from under her feet in a London station. This seems to be a particularly serious issue in Europe at the moment. I am curious to know if instrument thefts there have risen overall since the financial crisis began a few years ago.

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Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Warchal

Barenreiter

Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

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