The Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius of 1713 is an antique violin fabricated by Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The Gibson, while owned by Bronisław Huberman, was stolen twice. The first time the violin was returned shortly after the theft; the second theft, possibly by musician Julian Altman, occurred on the evening of 28 February 1936, backstage at Carnegie Hall, while Huberman performed with his Guarnerius of 1731.
Though Huberman never saw the Gibson again, the instrument was recovered 50 years later, in 1985, as a result of Altman's deathbed confession to his wife that he had bought the stolen violin from a friend for $100. In 1988, she turned the Strad over to Lloyd's, which paid her a $263,000 finder's fee and then sold the violin for $1.2 million to Norbert Brainin, an acclaimed English violinist.
The Gibson ex-Huberman is currently owned by violinist Joshua Bell. Bell had held and played the violin, and Brainin jokingly told Bell the violin could be his for four million dollars. Shortly thereafter, by chance, Bell came across the violin again and discovered it was about to be sold to a German industrialist to become part of a collection. According to his website, Bell "was practically in tears."
Bell then sold his current Stradivarius, the Tom Taylor, for a little more than two million dollars and made the purchase of the Gibson ex Huberman for a little under the four million dollar asking price. His first recording made with the Gibson ex Huberman was Romance of the Violin (under Sony Classical) in 2003.
- Madden, Richard L. (14 May 1987). "A Stolen Stradivarius, A 51-Year Old Secret". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
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