March 27, 2013 / 9:41 PM / 6 years ago

"Stradivarius" violin found in Bulgaria ruled a replica

A Bulgarian police official shows a violin, which the Interior Ministry says carries the sign of Antonio Stradivarius, in this handout photo released on February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Bulgarian Interior Ministry Press Office/Handout

LONDON (Reuters) - A violin seized by police in a raid in Bulgaria is not a 1.2 million pound ($1.8 million) Stradivarius stolen from a London train station more than two years ago but a replica, British police said on Wednesday.

The discovery of the violin in February raised the hopes of Korean-born classical musician Min-Jin Kym whose 300-year-old violin was snatched at Euston station in London in November 2010 when she stopped at a restaurant to buy a sandwich.

But British Transport Police, after working with underwriters, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Bulgarian police, said they believed the violin with Stradivarius markings was a replica.

“Experts examined the instrument in Sofia and it is thought to be a replica training violin, made in either Germany or the modern-day Czech Republic no more than 100 years ago,” they said in a statement.

They said investigations to find the real Stadivarius that dates back to 1696 were continuing with the reward for its return set at 30,000 pounds ($45,000).

Two bows stored inside the instrument’s case, a Peccatte worth 62,000 pounds and another made by the School of Bazin valued at more than 5,000 pounds, were also taken during the theft.

After a public appeal for information, a man and two teenage boys were arrested and admitted the theft in 2011 with media reports that they tried to sell the violin for 100 pounds. The man, John Maughan, then 30, was jailed for four and a half years.

Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Michael Roddy

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