BOSTON – An excessively rare handwritten receipt by composer Johann Sebastian Bach sold for $400,000 at RR Auction on February 9.
The one-page, double-sided receipt, written in German, was signed twice by Bach. The document acknowledges the sum of five guilders from Martin Simon Hille and Johann Bode under the terms of Sabina Nathan’s legacy, which provided for the music performed at her annual memorial service.
When the wealthy widow Sabina Nathan of Leipzig died in 1612, she made a bequest to have a motet sung in her memory every year on the feast day of St. Sabina in the Lutheran St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. As Kapellmeister of this church, Bach carried out the task from 1726 to 1749.
“Bach’s autograph is scarce in any form,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction, “this being the first we have ever offered, we are thrilled at the price achieved. As a twice-signed piece relating directly to his illustrious musical career, it is truly a treasure of cultural history.”
Additional highlights from the sale include Charles Freireich’s lifetime collection of more than 600 autograph albums, which realized $287,194.
A photograph of the doomed Romanov Grand Duchesses, signed by all four young women, achieved $75,001.
A document signed by King Henry VIII ordering lavish collars and leashes for his beloved dogs, plus costumes for the royal leash boys, sold for $50,419.
A membership card for the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute signed by martial arts legend Bruce Lee changed hands for $26,250.
An acetate recording of the Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl sold for $23,837.
The Fine Autograph and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began on January 14 and concluded on February 9. For more information, go to www.rrauction.com.
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