FBI appeal for stolen 1710 Amati violin

FBI appeal for stolen 1710 Amati violin


norman lebrecht

December 22, 2020

The FBI in Los Angeles are seeking information regarding the theft of a 1710 Amati violin from a Los Feliz residence on December 8, 2020.

If you have any information, please contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.

UPDATE: It belongs, according to the LA Times: … to Rowland Weinstein, who is not a musician but an art dealer who splits his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. His Weinstein Gallery, specializing in surrealism and abstraction from 1920 through World War II, is based in San Francisco. The violin, which he allowed musician friends and professional violinists to play, was in his white Tesla, parked outside his Los Feliz home, when someone stole the vehicle from his property Dec. 8.


  • PHF says:

    Good luck with that.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    There is a very clear photo of the stolen instrument on this website

    Note that this is not Andrea, Antonio, or Nicolò Amati — the major names — but the second Girolamo, son of Nicolò. Thus it is not perhaps the most valuable Amati out there but that is still a magic name and prices for Girolamo II have approached $1 million and would certainly be in the solid to upper six figures.

    The world of violin experts who could proclaim such an instrument to be authentic and valuable (the labels mean next to nothing to these experts although an original label can increase value) is a tight little island and the information about its being stolen as of December 10 is now well disseminated for their review. That is bad for the thieves (assuming this was not a contracted for job and the Amati is now in the hands of the Big Boss) which means it might also be bad news for the violin. The pawn shop would likely offer what they’d offer for a Roth school instrument.

  • Karl says:

    Was it insured?

  • Terence says:

    This would be by Hieronymus II Amati, the last of the Amati family of luthiers. He had the bad luck to be up against Stradivari.

    Still, it’s no doubt a very interesting instrument and and an important part of violin history.

    I hope it remains intact.

  • EagleArts says:

    Never leave instruments in your car!!!

  • Spieler Spoiler says:

    The FBI should be focusing on important things, not looking for a violin.

  • Karol Jozef Lipinski says:

    Made by the last Amati that we know of. Son of the great Nicolo Amati who died in 1684.

  • Kathleen King says:

    Best Wishes on its SAFE recovery. Some things are too precious, too truly priceless.

  • Michael T. Redden says:

    I really HOPE it is found. The longer it is missing the less chance for recovery!!

    Years ago, my wife hosted the Tokyo string quartet, where she worked. When they left their matched Amati instruments in her office, unattended, she was in a PANIC.
    Nothing happened to them….

  • Basso Continuoso says:

    Which Amati in Los Feliz? There are so many. I don’t think it’s so hard to find, where is a thief going to take it? To a pawn shop, a fence.

  • violafan says:

    Most likely someone the owner knew.

  • Fliszt says:

    Only an idiot would steal a violin, such as the moron who stole Roman Totenberg’s Strad, which mercifully turned up after the death of the thief – and sadly after Totenberg’s death.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      My violin repair person believes, evidently in common with many of his professional counterparts, that in certain cases these thieves are in the employ of grandees in Hong Kong or Macau or Singapore and that those stolen violins find their ways very directly and quickly to these individuals. Perhaps these days certain Russian oligarchs share in the spoils. So the theory is that in at least some cases, for the truly glorious instruments, it isn’t a matter of an idiot thief stealing the violin and then wondering who he can sell it to, leaving a trail of visited pawn shops for the authorities to track. The thief is hired for the purpose of stealing that violin and they darn well better succeed or someone is going to be very angry with them. You don’t annoy The Big Lebowski if you can help it.

      Thus this type of theft, if it is actually going on, totally evades the rather impressive communications network set up by the great violin shops and appraisers.

      • violinist says:

        I’d count the silverwear when dealing with the violin world of shops and appraisers.

        • David K. Nelson says:

          Well the updated information that N.L. supplies – that it was in the owner’s Tesla and the thief stole the Tesla puts an entirely different spin on things. But maybe even more hazardous to the violin itself, unfortunately.