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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 18:19 GMT
Rare violin returned to orchestra
The rare Stradivarius violin
Rare Stradivarius violins can fetch high prices at auction
A rare Stradivarius violin, worth an estimated 570,000, is to be returned to a US orchestra 21 years after it went missing, presumed stolen.

The instrument, which dates from 1725, had disappeared from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1985.

The violin resurfaced when it was put up for sale at auctioneers Bonhams, which struck a deal with the vendor to see it returned to the orchestra.

Instruments made by Antonio Stradivari are renowned for their resonance.

The orchestra had not expected to see the violin again and had made an insurance claim, which was settled.

A specialist from auctioneers Bonhams had come across the violin during a US trip and realised it was an important instrument.

'All winners'

After the violin was taken to London for further investigation, it was confirmed as one of only about 600 instruments made by Stradivari in existence and traced back to the orchestra.

The vendor, who had been given the violin in lieu of a debt, agreed to return it to the orchestra.

Philip Scott, director of Bonhams' musical instruments department, said everyone involved in the deal had been "winners".

He added: "To have played such a major role in returning this legendary instrument to its original owner is a source of much pride for Bonhams in the US and the UK."

Born in 1644, Stradivari made instruments including violas and cellos until his death in 1737.

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