Collectors turned out in force to acquire important works from Sotheby's recent Music, Continental and Russian Books and Manuscripts sale.
Surpassing pre-sale expectation, with a total of £3,919,789, the auction featured a long-lost autograph Mozart manuscript, scientific works by Kepler Newton, Tycho Brahe and Huygens and four leaves from the Gutenberg Bible.
The auction's top lot, an autograph manuscript of Rachmaninov's Second Symphony, achieved £1,202,500.
The autograph manuscript of Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony and a long-lost Mozart manuscript, discovered in South America, are the two major offerings in the Music section of this sale. Among the more modern scores are complete works by Krenek and Ustvolskaya. We also have Debussy’s marked-up copy of Wagner’s Parsifal, and important contemporary manuscripts of cantatas by Scarlatti and harpsichord sonatas by Soler. The Continental Books and Manuscripts include a fine collection of early German books, including the 1501 Aesop and the 1491 Schatzbehalter, some in contemporary bindings, one of which contains two leaves from a 9th-century manuscript of Bede. There are scientific books by Newton, Tycho Brahe and Kepler, and further books from the Law Society’s Mendham Collection, including the first edition of Wyclif’s works, printed in Worms in 1525, and a unique Venetian incunable. There is a pair of lavishly illuminated French genealogical manuscripts by Pierre d’Hozier, and two leaves from the Gutenberg Bible with decoration by the Fust Master.