by Brooke Kennedy
It’s music to our ears! RR Auction’s monthly Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction featured a stunning selection of pieces from Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe to scientific pioneers like Albert Einstein. This month, RR Auction highlighted pieces from classical composers, so let’s find out which pieces hit the right note.
Fur Elise is among Beethoven’s most recognizable pieces, but have you heard of Missa Solemnis? Written between 1819 and 1823, Beethoven considered this piece to be his greatest work. This composition even makes an appearance in an 1820 portrait of Beethoven painted by Joseph Karl Stieler. Our top seller for this auction, a letter written by Beethoven discussing the sending of Missa Solemnis to London, realized $99,999. Beethoven writes to Franz Christian Kirchhoffer inviting him to lunch at his flat on Sunday along with his nephew Karl. Beethoven writes about his concern of shipping his masterpiece to London, and asks Kirchhoffer about the possibility of sending it through the English embassy. This valuable piece provides insight into the composer’s personal life and those he associated with, and the mention of Missa Solemnis increases the value dramatically.
For this next piece, we move across the pond from Europe to New Hampshire. This historic letter written by Brigham Young to New Hampshire governor John H. Steele is dated April 24, 1845. Young wrote this letter seeking asylum for the persecuted Latter-Day Saints prior to their journey West. Just nine months prior to this letter, founder and prophet of the Mormon movement, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum were murdered in Carthage, Illinois by an angry mob of antagonized followers. After Young wrote this letter pleading against anti-Mormon violence, the Mormons were forced out of Illinois and made their trek to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah in July 1847. This lot ended up selling for $50,908 at RR Auction.
Third on our list an extremely scarce piece, a handwritten letter from ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette. Not much is known about the circumstances of this letter, as we do not know the recipient’s name or what year it was written. However, this unsigned letter is a typical example of those that the Queen would write to those closest to her, and it was most likely written to a noblewoman. Translated, the letter reads, “I have received your little letter excusing yourself and you will see by this one that yours was not necessary. You have mistaken the date and I do not know when your letter was written. But what pleases me is that I now see that the bishop has indeed arrived. Goodbye for once this time.” A look into the mind of the young royal, this letter sold for $34,511 and is only the second autograph letter by Marie Antoinette we have offered.
Other honorable mentions from this auction include an Albert Einstein signed photograph that sold for $28,405, a Paul Revere document for $28,125, and a Benedict Arnold letter for $21,296. Check out the rest of our high priced lots for this auction here.
Looking to Sell?
Face the music and sell your pieces today! We are always looking for photographs, autographs, and other signed pieces for our monthly. If you think your item might be a good fit, reach out to us at [email protected] or give us a call at 800-937-3880.
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