Durban man seeks help to recover stolen 130-year-old flute
Retired forensic auditor and flutist Anthony Hind, 69, has described losing his flute - which he has owned for 60 years - as like losing a life-long partner.
Durban-born Hind was given the rare flute by his late father as a little boy, and it has deep sentimental value.
“It is the only flute I have ever played, as an amateur and a professional,” he said.
But Hind lost his flute, estimated to be 130 years old, to robbers who broke into his home last week while he was on holiday in Cape Town.
“I had hidden it inside a high cupboard with a lot of pillows and blankets, thinking it would be safe, but clearly not – they came in and put everything on the floor,” he said.
Video cameras, recorders, jewellery were among some of the other things stolen from his home.
“They took a lot of things, which do not really matter because they are replaceable, but unfortunately the flute isn’t replaceable. It is priceless. It may be the only one left on earth,” he told TimesLIVE.
Hind said he had played at a lot of places in the country but had also travelled as far as United Kingdom and his flute never let him down.
“We played in orchestral pits for opera and ballet and we performed demanding orchestral programmes on stage together. We have been close friends for 60 years. Now my very dear friend has gone. It's like losing a member of my family and I am completely devastated and heartbroken,” he said.
In an attempt to recover his flute a case was opened with the police and he has taken to social media to request assistance to anyone that might have seen it to come forward.
“I am offering a reward of R5,000 for its safe return, it’s the least I can do. I need it back.
“I have literally visited all the pawn and second hand shops around, with no luck. But I left its full description and contact details,” said Hind.
He said he could not bear the thought of completely losing his flute and is hopeful that it will turn up somewhere.
“I believe it is going to turn up somewhere, maybe around Durban or even outside. I am really pleading for assistance,” he said.
Private investigator Brad Nathanson described the ordeal as unfortunate, as the people who stole it had no idea what it means to Hind.
“It’s sad because the people who took it probably discarded, abandoned or threw it away without understanding that it is of sentimental value to him,” he said.
Some of the instrument's descriptive markings are:
- Flute manufactured by flute maker Emil Ritterhausen (circa 1880) and the inscription on the flute says as much. The names of the cities Berlin and New York are included as well;
- The serial number is 4422; and
- The flute case is a 'combo' case and also contains Hind's piccolo which bears the manufacturer's name.