In the last week, two top violinists got a visit by the Repo Man…so to speak. Frank Peter Zimmermann was forced to give up his 1711 Stradivarius just days before soloing with the New York Philharmonic – and before his 50th birthday – after a contract on a loan expired. Meanwhile, a Pressenda violin played by Alexander Pavlovsky of the Jerusalem Quartet was sold by a syndicate that owned it, forcing him to look for another fiddle while he's out on tour. What do these cases tell us about the market for rare violins? And is there a stronger case to be made for modern instruments? In this week's episode, we get some perspective from Jason Price, the director of the auction house Tarisio Fine Instruments & Bows; and Ariane Todes, a writer, violinist and former editor of The Strad magazine who now writes for the website Elbow Music. Zimmermann never owned his Strad. Rather, he leased it from a now defunct German bank WestLB AG, whose assets are now controlled by Portigon Financial Services. The contract dates to 2002 and expired on Sunday. The violinist, who has offered to buy the instrument, declined to comment to WQXR, as "talks are continuing." The Jerusalem String Quartet. (Felix Broede) Segment Highlights Todes finds it "sad in some ways" that banks or syndicates control a greater share of the rare instrument market. "If a museum or foundation is going to understand the needs of the players and the needs of history, then it's not necessarily a bad thing," she noted. "If you get syndicates that think of these investments in a really short-term way and as [pure] investments rather than philanthropic ways to help musicians, then it's not so good." Price acknowledges that there are problems with the current model. However, "there are so many creative solutions that allow the people who are the top of their field to be playing the top instruments." He points to the growth in foundations that buy rare instruments and lend them out to musicians. There also remains a larger question of whether old instruments really sound better than modern ones – or are they a product of their mystique. To hear what our guests think, listen to the full segment at the top of the page. Tell us what you think below: Do you associate Strads or Guarneri instruments with better quality? Leave your comments by clicking on the gray bar below.