Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician Ophelie Gaillard | News | DW | 17.02.2018
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Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician Ophelie Gaillard

An 18th-century cello worth more than €1.3 million ($1.6 million) has been returned to an award-winning French musician. Soloist Ophelie Gaillard had been robbed at knifepoint outside Paris earlier in the week.

An attacker had held French soloist Ophelie Gaillard at knifepoint outside her home earlier in the week, forcing her to hand over the cello before fleeing on foot in the Paris suburb of Pantin. After the robbery on Thursday, Gaillard appealed for help from the public on Facebook, sharing pictures of the instrument.

"Help! My cello was stolen this evening in a red dark flight case," Gaillard wrote in a Facebook post, accompanied by pictures of the instrument.

"I received an anonymous call late in the morning saying that my cello was inside a car in front of my house. I found it in the back seat," soloist Ophelie Gaillard told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency on Saturday.

One of the windows of the car was broken and the musician said she quickly grabbed the instrument, which is "in good condition," before notifying police. The police confirmed that the cello had been found.

An expensive fiddle

The cello is on loan to Gaillard from CIC bank, part of France's Crédit Mutuel group. It is valued at nearly €1.3 million ($1.6 million). Made by Francesco Goffriller, son of Venetian master cello maker Matteo Goffriller, in Udine, Italy, in 1737, it is among the more valuable string instruments in the world. The cello case also contained her bow, which Gaillard said was made by acclaimed 19th-century French bow maker Jean Pierre Marie Persoit "around 1825 in Paris."

French newspaper Le Monde reported that in 2014, the famous auction house Sotheby's had sold a Stradivarius viola dating back to 1719 for more than $45 million (€36 million).


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