Dear Shaded Viewers,
I received this in my mailbox today.
It is uncommon enough for an instrument to be stolen – and even more unusual when the thief himself then later returns it. But this is exactly what happened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2014. Following a concert, the violinist who was being loaned the famous Lipinski Stradivari at the time was the victim of an armed robbery in a car park. The target: a violin from 1715 by the master Antonio Stradivari, worth several million dollars. But what happened next? That the thief was a keen art collector seemed highly unlikely. Following wide press coverage on the radio and the offer of a reward, the valuable violin suddenly reappeared. The thief seems to have realised that such unique works of art aren’t so easy to sell on if you’re not the rightful owner. Now, 2 years later, this violin with its fascinating history has been examined from top to tail, certified and documented. Indeed, over 300 Stradivaris have now been recorded in the 8 volumes of ‘Antonio Stradivari’. The latest volumes were presented in June this year at an international press conference in the Adlon Hotel in Berlin – they include the Lipinski violin, reproduced in life size and with extensive examinations by both a historian and a dendrochronologist, who was able to determine the age of the wood. With this comprehensive encyclopaedia, a good two thirds of the remaining Stradivaris have been documented. Now, more than ever, the theft of such an instrument seems pointless.