Stolen £1.2m Stradivarius found after three year search

Min-Jin Kym's instrument found with only minor damage in a house in the Midlands

classical music news

A 300-year-old Stradivarius violin belonging to Min-Jin Kym has been recovered after being stolen three years ago.

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The instrument, valued at around £1.2m, was stolen from the musician while she was eating lunch at a cafe in London’s Euston station.

A 32-year-old man and two teenagers were sentenced to four years in prison for the theft in 2011 after they tried to sell the violin for £100 on the internet.

But the instrument itself was feared to have been destroyed until police tracked it down to a house in the Midlands this month. The violin, which was only minorly damaged, was found along with a £62,000 Peccatte bow and another bow worth £5,000.

A model thought to be Ms Kym’s was recovered in Bulgaria in March, but turned out to be a cheap training model.

‘It’s been a very difficult journey; I still can’t quite believe what has happened’ said Kym. ‘The loss of the instrument, and the acute responsibility I felt, was at the back of my mind at every moment of the day. I’d played the instrument since I was a teenager, so it’d been a huge part of my identity for many years. I’m still feeling the butterflies in my stomach and am on cloud nine.’

Detective chief inspector Simon Taylor who led the search for the Stradivarius, said ‘I always maintained that that its rarity and distinctiveness would make any attempt to sell it extremely difficult, if not futile, because established arts and antiques dealers would easily recognise it as stolen property.'

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Polly Bartlett