A $1.8 million Stradivarius violin stolen from an acclaimed musician at a London railway café has been recovered after a three-year search, British authorities said.
Thieves stole the rare instrument, which was made in 1696, from Korean-born violinist Min-Jin Kym while she was eating at a Pret A Manger restaurant, authorities said. Kym told reporters she feared she would never seen the violin again.
A $94,000 Peccatte bow, along with a second bow made by the School of Bazin valued at nearly $8,000, were taken along with the violin.
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“The loss of the instrument and the acute responsibility I felt was at the back of my mind at every moment of the day," Kym told The Independent
. “I’ve now gone from devastation to the other end of the scale — an incredible feeling of elation that hasn’t left me. I’m still feeling the butterflies in my stomach and am on cloud nine.”
Police in 2011 arrested a 32-year-old man and two teenagers in connection with the theft, but were unable to reclaim the stolen Stradivarius.
“I always maintained that its rarity and distinctiveness would make any attempt to sell it extremely difficult, if not futile, because established arts and antiquities dealers would easily recognize it as stolen property,” Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor, who led the investigation, told The Independent.
British authorities said the violin was recovered with minor damage, along with the bows, from a property in the Midlands last week. Details about the recovery or what led police to the property were not released.
Violins made by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) are extremely rare and valuable. Experts believe there are no more than 400 or so that survive.
“This is had been the instrument I had been playing on since I was a teenager so it was a huge part of my identity for many years,” Kym, an internationally renowned musician told the BBC
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