Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician

This file photo taken on February 27, 2003 shows French cellist Ophelie Gaillard performing after being awarded the Victoire de la Musique Classique for best soloist. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician

PARIS: An 18th-century cello worth more than a million euros was returned to an award-winning French musician on Saturday after she was robbed at knifepoint in a Paris suburb earlier in the week.
“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 AFP.
One of the car windows was broken and the musician said she quickly grabbed the instrument, which is “in good condition,” before notifying police.
An attacker had held her up at knifepoint outside her home on Thursday, forcing her to hand over the cello, as well as her mobile phone, before fleeing on foot in the northeastern suburb of Pantin.
“The theft was very violent, I have not been able to sleep for two days. I am so relieved to have found it. I’m coming out of a two-day nightmare — it’s a miracle,” she said.
The police confirmed the cello had been found and a source close to the investigation by the BRB unit in charge of armed robberies said: “It’s not an instrument that can be sold to a fence on the corner.”
After the robbery on Thursday, Gaillard appealed for help from the public on Facebook, posting pictures of the instrument.
The cello, which was loaned to her by CIC bank and is valued at nearly 1.3 million euros ($1.6 million), was made in Udine, Italy in 1737 by luthier Francesco Goffriller, son of Venetian master cello-maker Matteo Goffriller.
The cello case also contained her bow, which she said was made by acclaimed 19th-century French bowmaker Jean Pierre Marie Persoit “around 1825 in Paris.”
In 2003, Gaillard was named the best new instrumental soloist at the French classical music awards.


Han Solo’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ blaster sells for $550,000

Updated 24 June 2018
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Han Solo’s ‘Return of the Jedi’ blaster sells for $550,000

  • The faux weapon, mainly made of wood, had been put on display in New York by Julien’s Auctions last month after more than 30 years tucked away in the belongings of James Schoppe, art director of “Return of the Jedi”
  • Martin Nolan, the auction house’s executive director, said Schoppe, an Oscar nominee for his work on the film, finally decided to part with Solo’s gun and about 40 other items from the movie, including an Ewok axe and plans for Jabba the Hutt’s ship

WASHINGTON: In the wildly popular “Star Wars” films, Han Solo once told a lightsaber-wielding Luke Skywalker: “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
That was the case when one of the blaster pistol props used by Harrison Ford in “Return of the Jedi” (1983) went under the hammer, selling for $550,000 — topping the $450,000 previously fetched by Skywalker’s lightsaber from the first two films.
“SOLD for $550,000! An original Han Solo blaster used in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi!” Julien’s Auctions announced on Twitter Saturday.
The faux weapon, mainly made of wood, had been put on display in New York by Julien’s Auctions last month after more than 30 years tucked away in the belongings of James Schoppe, art director of “Return of the Jedi.”
Martin Nolan, the auction house’s executive director, said Schoppe, an Oscar nominee for his work on the film, finally decided to part with Solo’s gun and about 40 other items from the movie, including an Ewok axe and plans for Jabba the Hutt’s ship.
The Ewok axe went for $11,250, while another blaster prop from the film fetched $90,624, according to Julien’s Auctions.
But none of the props were a match for the space saga’s much-loved droid: last year, an R2-D2 used in the making of several “Star Wars” films sold for $2.76 million at auction in Los Angeles.