Russian investigators have appealed to international police organization Interpol for assistance in tracking down the owner of what was labeled as an antique Stradivarius violin that was confiscated during a police raid.
Tver region police discovered the instrument while raiding the home of a man suspected of having committed several robberies in the area, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
The stringless violin, which was stored in a black case, was labeled "Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1721," the report said, seemingly indicating it had been built by the legendary Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari.
On closer examination, however, experts at the Glinka Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow concluded that the instrument was in fact of German descent, and was likely built in the late 19th century.
Counterfeit Stradivarius labels are not uncommon among string instruments, since the name alone propels their value by millions of dollars.
In 2011, the "Lady Blunt" — a Stradivarius violin stemming from the same year as the suspected Tver counterfeit — was auctioned off for $15.9 million to an anonymous bidder by Japanese auction house Tarisio.