Calm down! Stradivarius violin found in Bulgaria is a fake
It was thought to be the one stolen from Korean virtuoso Min-jin Kym at Euston station in 2010
When Bulgarian detectives announced last month that they had caught a crime boss trying to sell undercover officers a Stradivarius violin it sent ripples of excitement across the Channel.
Three years earlier a homeless man, working with two underage accomplices, distracted the renowned Korean violinist Min-jin Kym as she queued at a sandwich shop in Euston station and stole her £1.2m Stradivarius - one of just 450 such violins left in the world. Following the sting in Sofia, British detectives were hopeful that Miss Kym’s violin had finally been recovered.
Now the Korean maestro's hopes have been dashed after police announced today that the violin uncovered in Sofia is a training replica of little value.
The initial Bulgaria raid caused intense excitement because the violin uncovered was marked with the name of Antonio Stradivari, the seventeenth-century Italian artisan who created some of the best – and consequently most expensive – violins ever made. But an analysis by an expert has concluded that the instrument is a fake and little more than a century old.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor, of British Transport Police, said: “Experts examined the instrument in Sofia and it is thought to be a replica training violin, made in either Germany or the modern-day Czech Republic no more than 100 years ago. Our focus remains on recovering these extremely precious items and the reward for their return now stands at £30,000.”
The news will be renewed heartache for Miss Kym who began playing violin at the age of six and has gone on to become one of the world’s most talented young virtuosos. The original thief, 41-year-old professional pickpocket John Maughan, was jailed for four and a half years in 2011 after admitting that he had stolen the violin and tried to sell it to a bus driver for £100. Although he and his two unnamed teenage accomplices were caught by the police, the stolen violin, which also had two bows worth £70,000, were never recovered.
Despite their extraordinarily high price tags, detectives say a stolen Stradivarius is a difficult item to shift within criminal networks and rarely gains the seller anything close to its actual value because they are so rare and consequently easy to trace.
“Although the items are extremely valuable their uniqueness means their sell-on value, in monetary terms, is very low,” said DCI Taylor. “They can’t be sold for anything near to their true value because an arts and antiques or instrument dealer would easily recognise them as stolen property.”
It is not the first time high profile artists have been relieved of a Stradivarius. In 1999, Yo-Yo Ma managed to leave a cello made by Stradivari in a New York cab. Fortunately it was quickly recovered. Four years earlier in the same city, violinist Erica Morini had her flat broken into and her Stradivarius violin was stolen. It is still on the FBI’s top ten art crimes list to this day.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Trade Fl...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Data Support Analyst (Linux, Solaris, Windows Se...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Helpdesk Support Engineer (Windows, MS Office, E...