Sotheby's successful manuscript sale proves now is the time to invest


Sotheby's large collection of rare and unique manuscripts sold well at auction last week, making a sum total of £2,645,628 ($4,337,957) which shows that the interest collectors have in such pieces remains strong.

It is not surprising given the names connected to the sale though, with some of the world's greatest composers' personal manuscripts up for grabs.


Gustav Mahler's personal manuscript unsurprisingly beat its estimate price

Austrian Gustav Mahler's own copy of the first edition of his third symphony, complete with his erratic markings and sprawled notes, beat its estimate to sell for £163,250 ($267,646).

The composer's manuscript was outsold however by a rare set of Russian and French literature, which smashed its pre-sale estimate of £90,000 ($147,510) to make £169,250 ($277,306).

The books were written by Sergei Stroganov with the patronage of Tsar Nicholas I. It is ironic that the pieces of prose, which were about Russian antiquities, are now highly valued rarities themselves.

Sadly one item which was set to sell, but was withdrawn, were the six Mozart sonatas for piano and violin, which were discovered bizarrely in a Reading charity shop.

It turns out that they had been entered into the sale only due to an 'error', and that they have now been returned to the person who donated them to the store.


Chopin's letter proves that rare manuscripts are wise investments

However, the auction was still a significant success even without them, with almost all lots selling well. The fact that many manuscripts sold for higher amounts than their guide price shows just how valuable an investment they can be.

Things like this rare letter, written by Chopin while he was in Edinburgh and selling for double its estimate at £91,250 ($149,582), proves that any unique item will increase in value over time.


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