$164,357 Mahler manuscript and Mozart 'junk' piece sell at Sotheby's


Rare manuscripts and masterpieces by Mozart, including one which was almost thrown away as junk, are set to sell for high prices at Sotheby's tomorrow, June 8.

The auction, at which a large number of books and manuscripts are for sale, will attract a lot of interest because of the star names involved, like Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner and of course, Wolfgang Mozart.

Arguably the most interesting piece for sale is a manuscript of six short sonatas for the violin and piano, which is estimated to command a price of £2,000-£3,000 ($3,285-$4,928). The Mozart work was found by Elestr Lee, charity worker for Oxfam in Reading, and could easily have found its way into the waste paper bin.

Luckily she contacted Sotheby's, who confirmed its authenticity. It is thought the piece is one of Mozart's earliest compositions, written during his visit to London, aged eight, in 1765.

Despite the importance of the work, and the luck involved in finding it, its value is dwarfed by the most expensive piece being put up for sale.


Gustav Mahler's personal manuscript is set to be the star attraction at Sotheby's tomorrow, June 8

Gustav Mahler's personal copy of the first edition of his third symphony, which includes the composer's autograph and alterations written onto it, has been estimated to sell for between £100,000-£150,000 ($164,357-$246,465).

The fascinating piece is an insight into how the mind of a great composer works, containing not only Mahler's alterations, but changes to the alterations themselves. In many ways this makes it a largely unique manuscript, as its pages are adorned various different colours, including red ink, brown crayon and blue crayon.

There is no doubt this is a very interesting auction, not just because of the amount of famous names involved, but because of the unique nature of many of the manuscripts themselves.

It is also likely that such items, which are only going to get rarer and therefore become more sought after, will increase in value over the years and provide a very real investment opportunity. After all, imagine being able to own an original manuscript created by a musical genius - that certainly makes it worth the price.



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