Where would this business be without the reality show circus that is the world of buying and selling rare string instruments? Probably better off, but that isn’t the case. Nonetheless, an article by Carsten Holm (and translated from the German by Christopher Sultan) in the 5/10/2012 of Spiegel Online International brings us the latest (and incredibly detailed) installment in the life and times of the notorious Dietmar Machold (spoiler alert: it isn’t going well).
Even if you don’t follow the high flying world of rare instrument dealers, Machold’s name should ring a bell in that he was a central figure in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s (NJSO) golden age instrument debacle from 2006 where it was discovered that a number of the instruments in the sale, which Machold brokered, were either fake or misrepresentations.
And according to Holm’s article, it appears the NJSO wasn’t alone as Machold gave fake Stradivari instruments to several European banks as collateral for multi-million dollar loans. In some cases, Machold reportedly managed to use the same fake instrument to secure loans from different lending institutions.
The article is well worth your time and should hopefully serve as a stark reminder that when this business fails to uphold reasonable standards for accountability and due diligence, it only invites con men like Machold.
Currently, Machold awaits trial in a Vienna prison.