A California man has pleaded not guilty to trying to sell rare violins that were stolen from a Los Angeles Philharmonic musician.

Anthony Eugene Notarstefano, who spent two years behind bars in France, entered the plea in federal court Monday.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the violins are worth almost $300,000 and were stolen from the home of violinist Mark Kashper in 2006.

Prosecutors say Notarstefano tried to sell the 18th and 19th century instruments for a fraction of their worth at several Paris music stores. A suspicious merchant called police and Notarstefano was arrested in 2007 and extradited earlier this month.

Notarstefano was indicted on charges of possession of stolen goods and taking stolen goods abroad.

He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.