A rare and valuable Stradivarius violin, stolen in 1980, was recovered in New York City after a woman took it to be appraised.
The violin was owned by violin virtuoso Roman Totenberg, and it disappeared after he performed at a Boston concern in 1980, Fox News reported
Totenberg died at age 101 three years ago, and he said before he died that he suspected someone of the theft, but he had no proof the individual stole it.
An FBI agent contacted Totenberg’s daughter, NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg, to let her know the violin had been found, The Associated Press reported
"I really could hardly believe it at the time," she told the AP. "I said, 'I have to call my sisters. I'll tell them not to get their hopes up,' but he said, 'You don't have to do that. This is the violin.'"
Authorities said the woman who took the violin to be appraised is not a suspect in its theft and appeared to have no idea it had been stolen, Fox News said.
Although withholding the woman’s name, AP reported that she was the wife of violinist Philip S. Johnson, who died in 2011. Nina Totenberg told the news agency that Johnson was seen near her father’s office when the violin disappeared.
Roman Totenberg bought the instrument in 1943 for $15,000, the AP said, which translates to $200,000 in today’s dollars. The return of the violin, which was the only one Roman Totenberg played on until it was stolen, was significant for his family.
"This loss for my father was, as he said when it happened, it was like losing an arm," daughter Jill Totenberg told the AP. "To have it come back, three years after he died, to us, it's like having him come alive again."
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