April 18, 2005 at 07:59 PM · My sister Lindsay's violin was stolen yesterday. We are desperate to get it back. It is a Sanctus Seraphin 1742 (brown varnish with a hint of red)and was in a tan case with a dark purple inside. There are 3 bows in the case, one of which is a Tourte. The violin was stolen in West Hills, California. If you have any information, please contact me at Thank you!

Replies (66)

April 18, 2005 at 10:11 PM · I hope you filed a police report. This is a rmeinder to those who own valuable violins to have them photographed in detail and insured.

April 18, 2005 at 11:51 PM · Is that the one she was given on loan? Sad to hear such a thing happened.

April 19, 2005 at 12:56 AM · Lauren, I know your sister well.

Give her my condolences and I hope the violin is quickly recovered. Lindsay and her violin were a good match.

Best wishes.

April 19, 2005 at 01:17 AM · My violin was stolen. I publicized the loss well, with a $1500 reward, and nothing.

My best advice to you is to put something absolutely everywhere NOW, don't wait. Try getting some press on the issue as well.

April 19, 2005 at 02:19 AM · Lauren, that's TERRIBLE. She must be in an absolute frenzy. Have you thought of submitting a post to Maestronet? They have an index for stolen instruments. Click here. Condolences to Lindsey.

April 19, 2005 at 03:16 AM · I believe that they charge to register.

April 19, 2005 at 03:32 AM · You should also register the stolen violin at:

I think it should be free. My heartfelt sympathies, and I hope it comes home soon!

April 19, 2005 at 04:05 AM · I think that Mastronet ( has a separate section for stolen instruments as well. I wish for your sister to recover her violin and all three bows as soon as possible.

April 19, 2005 at 05:14 AM · pawn shops seem to be a popular place to find stolen instruments.

April 19, 2005 at 05:23 AM · I agree and I've seen it happen. Here in Australia a genuine Gofriller was stolen and ended up in one. I think it was pawned for something like $50.

April 19, 2005 at 11:16 AM · Hi,

SO SORRY TO HEAR THAT! I would say call the police, register the instrument at (the world list of instruments). Pawn shops are a popular place. I somehow would keep an eye out on internet auctions too. GOOD LUCK! That majorly sucks!


April 19, 2005 at 02:50 PM · the maestronet site:

April 19, 2005 at 05:55 PM · well, on teh bright side most of the time stolen instruments are recovered.

April 20, 2005 at 06:13 AM · Any progress, Lauren?

April 20, 2005 at 06:33 AM · I just heard the story on the 11 pm CBS news. They mentioned that because the violin was stolen out of a car, the insurance does not cover it. For anyone who doesn't have that coverage, you can join Chamber Music America and get instrument insurance through the company they deal with (Clarion in NY) and they cover the instrument no matter where it is. The price is right too.


April 20, 2005 at 05:39 PM · I feel your sister's pain. I sometimes lie awake at night thinking where my violin and bow could be, and it really really really pisses me off that some low life has profited on something that was mine, and has always been an implement of positive things.

April 20, 2005 at 07:29 PM · Thank you all for your support! No word on the instrument yet, but the news has been covering it, so hopefully the word is out. Thank you all for your suggestions and good thoughts.

I'll keep you posted! By the way the reward is now $10,000.

April 20, 2005 at 10:42 PM · My mother told me today she had heard about a stolen violin on the news. I confirmed the story was this one. It has been publicized, and I hope it helps to it's return.

I really hope this turns out ok.

April 21, 2005 at 01:19 AM · Nevermind I used

April 21, 2005 at 03:53 AM · Hi Lauren, sorry to hear about this. That's like everyone's worst nightmare. I can't imagine what your sister must be going through now. I read about the story online on a few news websites. I would certainly notify Strings magazine and also the Strad magazine and see if they can write a notice to readers about this in the news section. This is going to sound really naive, which I'm sure the LAPD or whoever is in charge of this investigation covered already but since they have their hands full sometimes I think it might be important to make sure they checked the area in which the violin was taken from for any possible surveillance cameras. There had to be someone or something witness to this. I hope you find the violin and the person that did this gets many years to contemplate his/her actions in jail.


April 21, 2005 at 04:29 AM · I'd assume they're treating it like a major heist rather than hijacked Christmas presents. Good luck and best wishes. I hope to read it's recovered soon.

April 21, 2005 at 05:08 PM · The violin was JUST found in an alley near the Paviolions store. Thank you all so much for your help and support. It's nice to have a happy ending to this story!

April 21, 2005 at 05:21 PM · YAY! You must be sooo relieved!

I'm so happy for you!


April 21, 2005 at 05:50 PM · Great to hear the happy ending!!!!! Was everything in the case that was supposed to be there?

April 21, 2005 at 06:19 PM · "Phew!!!" doesn't even cut it!! How far or close was it found to West Hills?

April 21, 2005 at 06:22 PM · Makes me think that the thief realized this was not "petty" theft and ditched the hot potato.

April 21, 2005 at 08:32 PM · Very good that it was publicized before, both ways. Learning that it was that valuable and publicized, could have motivated that drop.

The person who found it probably had heard about it and realized it was the one he had heard about, thus returning it.

Must've been quite hell the past few days.

April 21, 2005 at 09:14 PM · I'm so glad the instrument was found! I also play on a barrowed instrument and bow and sometimes find myself getting careless about where I leave it (even for just minutes). This just goes to remind all of us how quickly they can disappear.


P.S. I read some of the news reports but didn't realize that Seraphins were going for such a high dollar now. I'm sure once the thief heard what s/he had they knew it would be very difficult to sell it.

April 21, 2005 at 09:39 PM · This is wonderful news. Now, we all must be more vigilant about securing our own instruments. This was a happy ending, but so many thefts do not end this way.

April 21, 2005 at 10:44 PM · I'm so glad, Lauren! This is similar to what happened with the cello stolen last year from the LA Phil musician; it was recovered from a dumpster. A woman found it there and gave it to her boyfriend, who was a woodworker and was going to make the cello into a CD rack!

Cool huh?


So I'm glad nothing terrible fell Lindsay's violin! Is it in good shape?

April 22, 2005 at 01:17 AM · Wonderful news, I am very glad to hear about the recovery.

April 22, 2005 at 03:40 AM · I am glad it has been found. I agree that once the thieves really knew what they had there was no way they were going to get rid of it without giving themselves up as well. As Laurie asked, does it look like it has been handled or damaged in any way? I hope not. I've come across violin shops that could handle their violins a lot better, so it always worries me how a thief would handle a violin. I hope they more or less just left it alone.

April 22, 2005 at 06:12 AM · Thanks for all of your posts! The violin seems to be in good condition. Lindsay has not actually been able to get it from the police yet, but she did see the front of it and said that it looks fine. The only things that were touched were the bows that were tightened, the chin rest looked like it had been moved, and there was some rosin on the strings. We'll see for sure on Saturday.

April 22, 2005 at 08:09 AM · Lauren, I'm so happy for you and your sister. The two of you must be very relieved. I hope the condition of the violin has not deteriorated. Let us know.

April 22, 2005 at 08:15 AM · Actually I wonder if the police are considering taking it forensics or something. Only last night I was watching the very interesting TV show "Crime Scene Academy" and it was the episode where they were teaching all the different techniques for lifting fingerprints. Unfortunately they did not cover the technique required for pulling them off a violin though...hmmm. Hopefully they are just doing paperwork or something.

April 22, 2005 at 09:35 AM · The cops are dusting the violin for prints, though I think it was just some kid who nabbed it.Even leaving an instrument locked in the trunk of a car is asking for trouble; leaving it in the back seat with a cracked window is screaming for it. Sorry Lindsay; a scary way to learn this lesson.

April 22, 2005 at 11:18 AM · I'm sure lots of people agreed, Thomas. I wasn't going to say anything, out of sympathy, at least until it was recovered, but yeah, :)

April 22, 2005 at 01:54 PM · Lauren:

I too, feel extremely happy for the recovery of the instrument.

Just to let you know.

April 22, 2005 at 04:09 PM · Here is some official news on the case:


April 22, 2005 at 04:19 PM · And here is the official LAPD press release:


April 22, 2005 at 04:37 PM · What a bow: $350000! What maker is it? And from what year?



April 22, 2005 at 04:41 PM · Yay! Now I can hear her play it someday, if I'm lucky. I love the strange message boards at the end of Yahoo news stories - some of the best irreverent comedy going today.

April 22, 2005 at 04:55 PM · Is there a message board active with this Yahoo message?

The incredible $350000 value for a bow (it would be even enough for five top bows from makers we all know) came from the official LAPD press release.


April 22, 2005 at 05:00 PM · Yes, at the bottom Frank.

April 22, 2005 at 05:28 PM · Thanks, found it!


April 22, 2005 at 05:43 PM · From what I read in the LA Times yesterday, the bow is valued at $160,000, the violin at $350,000 (both of which make more sense). Maybe the LAPD press release got its numbers wrong. While $160k is still a lot of money, it's not out of the realm of possibility for a particularly stunning Tourte.

April 22, 2005 at 05:42 PM · Yes, there seem to be more messed-up numbers, like the $1000 versus $10000 reward. But I assume LAPD double checks numbers before releasing them to the press since they might become relevant at trials.


April 22, 2005 at 05:56 PM · A tourte with unoriginal parts would be have a tough time reaching the $160K mark, I think.


April 22, 2005 at 06:24 PM · Well maybe if it's an octagonal stick, gold mounted and a tourtoise shell frog in perfect condition...

April 22, 2005 at 06:32 PM · I am sure, Lauren will clarify this after all the support she got in this forum when the violin got lost.


April 22, 2005 at 07:07 PM · The bow is a Tourte with a gold mounted tortoise shell frog. I'm not sure exactly what the violin and bow are worth, but the numbers Peter Mandell (the owner of the violin) has said was $350,000 for the bow and $500,000 for the violin. Whatever the amount, the bow and violin are irreplacable as far as the quality of the craftsmanship and historical value not to mention the emotional value for both Peter Mandell and my sister. We are just glad that they were found! Oh yes, and the reward money started at $1,000 and then increased to $10,000.

April 22, 2005 at 07:54 PM · You're talking about a very very rare Tourte, of an already very rare bow maker. Most French bowmakers only made one gold mounted bow of every 30, and add to that the tortoise shell, I am not surprised as to the value.

As someone who has had his violin and bow stolen from him (and not yet returned) I must tell you that your sister will probably have a renewed sense of how special her instrument is, and will be even more careful with it.

April 22, 2005 at 08:09 PM · I'm happy for her the instrument is found. Never ever leave it in the car or out of sight for more than a few seconds! The heartache of losing an instrument is horrible.

April 22, 2005 at 09:25 PM · Here's an article about the whole episode:

congratulations, Lindsay!

April 22, 2005 at 10:57 PM · Wow glad to hear that. Sorry this happened.

April 23, 2005 at 02:01 AM · Glad to know it's been recovered. I'd have been devastated if that happened to me, though my violin's no strad, so I can only imagine what it must have been like. Glad to know this story has a happy ending.

April 23, 2005 at 02:33 PM · Hi,

Lauren: Glad to hear that this story ended the right way!


April 24, 2005 at 05:14 AM · i just saw your story on the fox 11 news!


April 26, 2005 at 02:55 PM · laurie,

CD rack?!


April 26, 2005 at 05:51 PM · I kid you not!

April 26, 2005 at 06:07 PM · Lauren, thank G-d, at last, you can enjoy again listening to Lindsay's playing on this unique instrument.

April 26, 2005 at 07:38 PM · Laurie speaketh the truth. The boyfriend was going to destroy a gorgeous cello. Somehow, I really think they knew that they were destroying a beautiful thing. Even those outside of the music community have an idea just how expensive an instrument is. Even an entry level violin at $500-$900 is to expensive and precious a thing to rip apart to hold CDs. A student cello is considerably higher.

People can really disgust me.

April 27, 2005 at 07:06 PM · Maximilian - you'd be surprised at how ignorant some people can be. I find it highly believable that this couple had no clue of the worth of such an instrument.

April 27, 2005 at 07:30 PM · Igor, I am positive that you can be just as ignorant on a wide variety of topics as people are ignorant of valuable violins.

Would you know not to use an 1985 Richebourg as cooking wine? Would you know not to gig a beat up looking 1954 Fender Stratocaster? Would you know not to throw away a post war Patek Philippe?

I bet that in at least one of these cases you would do something equally stupid, so let's not admonish people for not knowing about how much a cello is worth that was found in a dumpster.

April 27, 2005 at 07:41 PM · You may not know that Richebourg shouldn't be a cooking wine, I'll grant you that. You may also be unaware of the value of a '54 Fender. Be that as it may, you know not to use a 2005 Lexus LS in a demolition derby.

I don't want to portray myself as a cold, heartless snob putting down people because of their ignorance.

Disgusted may have been a poor word choice. Perhaps frustrated fits the bill better.

April 28, 2005 at 04:20 AM · Another way of looking at it is if it hadn't been for this lovely couple's desire for an appropriately eye-catching cd rack, and their enthusiasm for crafting one themselves using the time-honored artistic medium of "found objects," the "giant banjo" would now be a possum house down at the landfill.

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