A pawn shop is a little like a bank. They loan you money if you give them something valuable and they keep it until you pay back the loan. They charge a fee based on the length of time it takes you to repay. If you don’t repay the loan within a certain period of time, they can sell your valuable and make a profit on both the fees and the higher selling price. So when a woman who was described as “a model” wanted a $50 loan in exchange for a violin, the LBC Boutique & Loan pawnshop in Boston made the deal. They reported the sale to the police as required by law. The pawn shop manager noticed an old label inside the violin and searched online to learn more. The violin was made by Ferdinando Gagliano, a member of a famous Italian family of violin makers in the 18th century. The pawned violin was made in 1759. Recent sales suggested a value of $250,000. But the police soon called back with documents proving the violin had been stolen from a family in nearby Somerville, and it had to be returned. An insurance company usually pays a reward when an expensive stolen item is recovered, but we have not been able to learn if the pawnshop lost $50 or got an impressive reward.

Photo: Boston.cbslocal.com