Updated: Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:12 | By Agence France-Presse

Once-stolen Stradivarius sells for £1.3 million

A rare Stradivarius violin, which was once stolen and offered for just £100 ($162, 118 euros) by thieves, sold at auction in Britain on Wednesday for £1.3 million ($2.3 million, 1.6 million euros).


Once-stolen Stradivarius sells for £1.3 million

A French chemist checks a Stradivarius violin at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique in Paris, on December 3, 2009.

Thieves took the antique instrument, which was made in 1696, and two valuable bows from Korean-born violinist Min-Jin Kym as she ate a sandwich at a cafe in London's Euston station in 2010.

It was recovered unscathed from a house in central England in July, but by that time the violinist had obtained a new instrument. Three people were jailed in connection with the theft in 2011.

The violin was sold on Wednesday by fine instrument auction house Tarisio in an online sale for £1,385,000, which included the buyer's premium, the firm said on its website.

The auction house said part of the proceeds would go towards British Transport Police, the force that helped track down the instrument.

At one stage the thieves attempted to sell it for £100, not far from where it had been taken.

Thief John Maughan, then aged 30, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to the theft of the violin in April 2011. Two London teenagers aged 15 and 16 were sent to youth detention centres.

Violins made by Italian Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737), considered by many the world's most important luthier or crafter of stringed instruments, are extremely rare and valuable. There are probably no more than 600 still in existence.

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