London

Bulgaria raid violin not stolen £1.2m Stradivarius

£1.2 million antique violin
Image caption The 300-year-old Stradivarius violin has low resale value because of its unique features

A violin recovered during a police raid in Bulgaria is not the 17th Century Stradivarius which was stolen from a musician in London, officers said.

The £1.2m Stradivarius and two bows were stolen from classical musician Min-Jin Kym while she was in a cafe at Euston station in November 2010.

Experts believe the recovered violin is a replica used for training, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

John Maughan admitted theft in 2011 but the 1696 violin has not been found.

'Low resale value'

The Korean-born musician, who has played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, was due to board a train to Manchester and was buying a sandwich at Euston station when the case containing the instrument was taken from her.

The stolen case also contained two bows - a Peccatte bow valued at £62,000 and another made by the School of Bazin which was valued at more than £5,000.

Maughan, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years. Two boys, then aged 15 and 16, also admitted the theft in March 2011.

A £30,000 reward is being offered by insurance company Lark Insurance Broking Group for information leading to the recovery of the "irreplaceable instrument".

Image caption A £62,000 Peccatte bow was also inside the case

Det Ch Insp Simon Taylor said: "After a violin bearing Stradivarius markings was recovered in Bulgaria on Wednesday 27 February, we worked closely with underwriters, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Bulgarian police, through Interpol, to establish if it was the 1696 Antonio Stradivarius taken from Euston in 2010.

"Experts examined the instrument in Sofia and it is thought to be a replica training violin, made in either Germany or the modern-day Czech Republic no more than 100 years ago."

He said that although the violin and the bows are "extremely valuable, their uniqueness means their sell-on value, in monetary terms, is very low".

"They can't be sold for anything near to their true value because an arts and antiques or instrument dealer would easily recognise them as stolen property".

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