From the Archive: January 1900

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An unsolved mystery from 1869: T.L. Phipson relates how a c.1709 Stradivari violin vanished without trace – and as far as we know, remains missing to this day

One fine afternoon in 1868, I was coming thorough Wardour Street and thought I would call in at George Hart’s for a few strings. On this occasion, there was a handsome, fair-haired, young man, barely twenty-four years of age, rather tall, and of very gentlemanly appearance, walking up and down the room, playing a series of scales and cadenzas on a fine toned violin. It struck me that he was a very good player, and I sat down for some time to listen to him. At last he finished playing and turning to Hart, said:— “Yes, I am quite contented, I have brought a blank cheque with me, and I will fill it up now.” “If you fill up your cheque for three hundred and four pounds, that will be all right,” said Hart…

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