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  1. So I arrive early to my appointment at my luther's studio this morning, awaiting my turn behind a sweet, more than just polite middle-age Chinese lady for whom English is clearly a second language. She's brought in a ratty looking violin, and disappointed to learn it's not really a [name your favorite 2nd. rank but yet household name maker here] after all. That's not so bad, but then she asks my luthier what might be the value of the "real" Stradivarius passed down in her family that belonged to her grandfather, a German Jew who emigrated to China either before or during the war. This is not so absurd, considering it's well-known (and obvious!) that members of different cultures often inter-marry, given exposure to each other. So the woman asks my luthier the true value of such an item, and when told "between 1.5 and 15 million dollars, depending", her eyes light up. Then it is explained to her that most all of the known Strads are already accounted for, and hers (for which she surely expects corroboration of her desire!) would need to be authenticated by experts in New York, Chicago, etc., in addition to dendro, etc, ad infinitum. But does this revelation dampen her hopeful ardor? NO! The reason this otherwise oft-heard story gives me pause is because it's completely plausible that the woman's grandfather, if Jewish, might very well have emigrated to China with a violin, valuable or not, and married the woman who became this lady's grandmother! I mean, who's to say otherwise?? So I'm sitting there in my chair, inconspicuous as possible, listening and watching the whole scene take place, and my first thought is I have to admire my luthier (and her co-workers) for maintaining completely straight faces, polite as can be expected, and patient as Job hisownself. And then my second thought is: WHAT IF? Your thoughts? Jeffrey? David?
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