Stolen Stradivarius violin mystery takes another twist

Violinist Min-Jin Kym.
(Keith Saunders)

The strange case of a stolen Stradivarius violin belonging to London-based musician Min-Jin Kym has taken another twist. The instrument that officials recovered this year in Bulgaria has turned out to be a replica, not the 17th century instrument that they were looking for, according to reports.

British authorities said this week they believe the recovered violin is a replica used for training, and that it was made no more than 100 years ago, according to reports from the BBC News and the Telegraph.

The original violin was stolen in 2010 when Kym was at a London train station. It has an estimated value of 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million). The theft also included two bows, one of which is valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.

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In 2011, a man named John Maughan and two accomplices confessed to the crime. But strangely, the violin has yet to be recovered.

Kym’s violin dates from 1696 and is considered to be extremely rare. The musician bought the instrument several years ago for 750,000 pounds, according to a report in the Evening Standard.

In February, officials in Bulgaria announced they recovered a violin they believed to be the one belonging to Kym. An alleged crime boss reportedly tried to sell the instrument to undercover officials.

BBC News reported a 30,000-pound reward is still being offered for the return of the instrument by the insurance company Lark Insurance Broking Group.



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