Ludwig van Beethoven Signature Up for Auction

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BOSTON, MA—(December 2, 15)—An exceedingly rare Ludwig van Beethoven signature will be auctioned by Boston-based, RR Auction.

The full endorsement signature in pencil, “Ludwig van Beethoven,” on the reverse of a statement written in pencil by his attorney Dr. Johann Baptist von Bach, one page, in full (translated): "You can keep the bow for the coming half year. Otherwise, one might raise some objections. From 1st October 1818 until 1st April 1819.” An ink notation below Beethoven’s signature reads, “Autograph of Beethoven. Presented as a souvenir to Mrs. Elizabeth Schmetzer by A. Schindler, Frankfurt a. M., in March 1855.”

This marked a transitional period for Beethoven following a very difficult time in his personal life. His deafness had set in entirely, he was in a difficult battle over the custody of his nephew, and he was recovering from a prolonged illness. At the same time he had largely ceased composing from 1815 through 1817, but in 1818 rededicated himself to the craft and over the ensuing decade flourished in his prolific ‘late period.’ Anton Schindler, the man who presented this autograph as a gift in 1855, was Beethoven’s private secretary and first biographer; he also inherited many of Beethoven’s papers and notebooks.

“Beethoven is exceedingly rare in full signatures, and with musical content concerning a violin bow this is an absolutely magnificent piece,” said Robert Livingston Executive VP at RR Auction.

Handsomely double-matted and framed with a portrait of Beethoven, with a window in the backing for viewing the reverse. (Estimate $30,000 - $40,000.)

Among the other items to featured:

J. E. B. Stuart letter to the Confederate Congress advocating veterinary care for cavalry horses. (Estimate: $25,000 - $30,000)

George Washington letter concerning Lord Fairfax. (Estimate: $20,000 - $25,000)          

Huddie ‘Lead Belly’ Ledbetter letter to his manager. (Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000)          

Wellington and Alexander Gordon archive containing nearly fifty letters. (Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000)          

Online bidding for Fine Autographs and Artifacts from RR Auction began on November 20 and will conclude on December 9.  More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

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