When the Philadelphia Orchestra settled itself on the stage at Manhattan's Carnegie Hall last week, Cellist Elsa Hilger suddenly became so excited that she could scarcely get down to business, even when Conductor Leopold Stokowski appeared, commanding instant attention for the opening Handel overture. Cellist Hilger had spied the instrument being used by her desk-mate, Cellist Victor Gottlieb. It looked like the $10,000 Guarnerius which had been hers until two years ago when it was stolen from a taxicab.
Victor Gottlieb had borrowed the cello from one S. N. Rosenthal, a Manhattan dealer who had offered to sell it for $4,000. Dealer Rosenthal had bought it for $600 from a violinist. The fiddler had paid $12 for it to a man who claimed to be a lawyer settling the affairs of a client. By the end of the week Elsa Hilger had redeemed her Guarnerius. Her claim was granted when she described a hasp on the case. She had tried to mend it with a nail when a screw dropped out.