Kelso man reports theft of Stradivarius violin

Kelso man reports theft of Stradivarius violin

By Leslie Slape / The Daily News | Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 6:00 pm | No Comments Posted

A Kelso man told police a Stradivarius violin, made in 1722 and handed down through his family for more than a century, was stolen from his car during the night Sunday.

He claimed he put the violin, which was in a case, in his Chrysler 300 and parked it at his girlfriend’s house because he thought it would be safer from thieves than in his home. He lives on North Second Avenue, a street that has suffered numerous recent burglaries and vehicle prowls.

His girlfriend lives in the 1900 block of Teresa Way, Kelso.

The 61-year-old victim, who did not return calls Tuesday from The Daily News, told police he was planning to take the violin in for appraisal before selling it online. It is insured, he told police, but a police report did not specify how much the insurance policy covered.

The prowler also stole an antique Marlin brand 32 caliber special-action rifle from the car, he said, but left other valuables behind.

If the man’s Stradivarius is genuine, it is one of an estimated 630 to 650 surviving instruments handmade by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) or his sons in Cremona, Italy. Although other Cremona produced other famous violin makers, instruments produced by the Stradivari family are considered the best ever made. Today a genuine “Strad” is worth two to three million dollars.

There also are millions of copies in existence, with the first counterfeits being made in the 19th century. A violin’s authenticity can only be determined through comparative study of design, model wood characteristics, and varnish texture, according to the Encyclopedia Smithsonian.

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