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All We Are Saying

Qur’an Leaf

$1,011,000 (£513,300)

Sotheby’s London, April 9

Estimate: $160,000–$240,000 (£80,000–£120,000)

A single leaf of the Qur’an, dating from a century after the holy book was completed.

#7Further evidence of the much increased financial standing of early Islamic calligraphy, is provided by this large, 8th-century leaf in kufic script, from either North Africa or the Near East. It is a fragment of the largest known early Qur’an, around one-third of which is now housed in Tashkent (Uzbekistan); it probably arrived there along one of the old silk road trade routes. In the late 19th century a facsimile of this Qur’an was published in St. Petersburg, Russia; and this leaf was probably among a number separated at that time. According to a report in the respected art journal Apollo, British dealer Sam Fogg sold this very same leaf four years ago for around $50,000! IM

Lincoln Autograph


Sotheby’s New York, April 3

Estimate: $800,000–$1,000,000


#8Location, location, location. On October 15, 2008, Bonhams sold an autograph book signed by Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and other members of the Lincoln government. It fetched $7,200. Six months earlier, Sotheby’s sold these few pages from an autograph book signed by Lincoln at Gettysburg on the day he gave his famous address. It’s the only known Lincoln signature from that day. IM

Lennon Lyrics


“Give Peace a Chance”

Christie’s South Kensington, July 10

Estimate: $400,000–$600,000 (£200,000–£300,000)


#9John Lennon wrote the lyrics to “Give Peace a Chance” (“All We Are Saying”) during his Bed-In-For-Peace with Yoko Ono in 1969, on a single sheet of cardstock. ’Nuf said.

Chopin Manuscript

$802,000 (£409,250)

Sotheby’s London, December 3

Estimate: $400,000–$600,000 (£200,000–£300,000)

Musical Manuscript

#10This 1841 manuscript of Frederic Chopin’s piano work, “The Tarantella,” Op. 43, was a working copy, showing numerous revisions and extensive deletions in the composer’s characteristic heavy cross-hatching. In 1941 the manuscript was almost lost in a bombing raid; scorch marks resulted in the loss of a few notes at the corners. It has been repaired and restored. The manuscript remained in the family of Chopin’s friend and assistant Julian Fontana until now. The Narodowy Institut Fryderyka Chopin in Warsaw bought it.

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