A rare booklet of music by Mozart has been discovered after it was donated by an unknown benefactor. Elestr Lee described how he opened a box of sheet music and immediately knew the tatty score on top was unusual.
It turned out to be sheet music for six short sonatas printed in 1765 when Mozart was visiting London aged eight. The music is expected to raise in between £2,000 to £3,000 when it is auctioned on Wednesday at Sotheby’s.
“It was obviously very old because it was engraved and so I started to research it,” Ms Lee, a classical musician who volunteers at Oxfam, told the BBC.
She translated the French writing on the front and discovered the booklet of sonatas, for piano and violin, was a rare second printing of a first edition and that only one other copy is known to exist.
“It was just a box of sheet music that the Newbury shop couldn’t sell, so because we’re a specialist music shop they sent it to us,” said Ms Lee. “We have no idea where it’s been sitting for the last 250 years.”
Dr Simon Maguire, senior specialist in Sotheby’s book department, said: “This edition was published in 1765, when the eight-year-old Mozart visited London as a young prodigy and exists in only a handful of copies.
“This is a great opportunity for Sotheby’s to assist Oxfam’s work by presenting an outstanding item like this before the international music market, which comes together at Sotheby’s twice a year.”