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Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 18:08 GMT
Beethoven manuscript sells for record price
The manuscript is said to be in Beethoven's own hand
A Ludwig van Beethoven manuscript discovered in a stately home has been sold at Sotheby's auctioneers for 166,500.

The string quartet movement, lasting 52 seconds, was bought by a Geneva manuscript museum, the Bodmer Foundation, which bid the most money ever paid for a single sheet of Beethoven music.

The piece, written by Beethoven in Vienna in 1817 for a young English traveller called Richard Ford, was discovered in the collection of the Molesworth St Aubyn family at Pencarrow House near Bodmin, Cornwall.

Said to be in the German composer's own hand, it is thought to have been played for the first time by the Eroica String Quartet at Sotheby's in October this year.

Autographed

The autographed manuscript, never before published, forms part of an extensive collection from Pencarrow House, including letters and manuscripts signed by famous historical and literary figures.

The collection, which has 200 lots, has remained in virtual obscurity for more than a century but is now being sold to raise funds for the upkeep of Pencarrow House, including repairs to the roof.

Running to 18 bound volumes, it is expected to raise 500,000.

The whole collection includes an unpublished proclamation by Abraham Lincoln from 1863 and letters by Thomas Jefferson and the American Civil War generals Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

It also includes documents linked to Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill and Admiral Nelson.

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Sotheby's Dr Steven Roe: "It's a lovely piece of music"
See also:

07 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Lost Beethoven work premieres
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