Stradivarius violins are so important that they come with their own biographies. Several hundred of them survive today, and they're so prized, you can trace their lineages through the musicians who played them over the centuries.
The instruments have been valued at prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. That kind of money attracts a lot of nonmusicians, like investors — and thieves.
There's always intrigue involved when one of the instruments goes missing. They've been stolen out of Carnegie Hall, out of a New York City apartment, out of a London sandwich shop — and, most recently, from a parking lot in Milwaukee.
Stealing The Lipinski
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond had just finished a performance on a frigid Wisconsin night in January of this year.
With a rare violin, the Lipinski Stradivarius, slung over his shoulder, he walked out into the freezing parking lot toward his car.