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Massachusetts pawn shop mistakenly buys $250K stolen violin for $50

A violin worth $250,000 was bought for $50 by a Massachusetts pawn shop.
A violin worth $250,000 was bought for $50 by a Massachusetts pawn shop.

Credit: Andrew Burton

Credit: Andrew Burton

A new employee at a Massachusetts pawn shop had no idea a violin he bought for $50 was actually worth 5,000 times that price — and was being missed by its rightful owner.

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The violin was a Ferdinando Gagliano, hand-crafted and one of a kind, dating to 1759 — older than the United States itself. It is valued around $250,000, but its history is priceless.

To the dismay of pawn shop employees at the LBC Boutique and Loan in Somerville, the instrument had been stolen from a house in the city.

"We got a call from a detective from the Somerville Police Department," Dylan McDermitt of LBC Boutique and Loan said. "This particular (seller) had no criminal background history."

McDermitt said the pawn shop is required by law to hold pieces for 30 days in case items are discovered stolen, as in this case.

As of now, the one-of-a-kind instrument is being returned to its rightful owner.

The investigation into how the thief obtained the violin is ongoing.

"We’re going to start asking the customers to play the violins to make sure that we know it’s theirs," McDermitt said