BOSTON – RR Auction‘s April 13 Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale will be led by a four-page handwritten letter by Ludwig van Beethoven about a proposed composition. The letter by Beethoven to his librettist, the court poet Friedrich Treitschke, asks him to help secure two hundred gold ducats in payment for their planned opera Romulus und Remus. It emphasizes the “many sacrifices I have willingly made and am making for my art.” It carries an estimate of $300,000-$500,000. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.
“It’s a rare and important handwritten letter by the musical genius, discussing both his financial difficulties and a long-contemplated but never completed work,” said RR Auction Executive VP Bobby Livingston.
Also on offer is a pair of letters by the Wright Brothers about patents and contracts. The two 1908 letters from legendary aviation-pioneering brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright are both one page in length and are addressed to engineer and businessman Hart O. Berg, a Flint and Company representative contracted to help manage the Wright Brothers’ business in Europe. Berg’s wife, Edith, became the first American woman to fly as a passenger in an airplane when she joined Wilbur for a two-minute and seven-second flight at Camp d’Auvours in Le Mans, France, on October 7, 1908. The pair of letters is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
Among the selections in the modern music category is a pristine Abbey Road Studios promo card signed by the Beatles in 1963. Parlophone Records produced a small quantity of promotional photo cards in two formats — a horizontal version and a vertical one, both with pictures shot by famed Beatles photographer Dezo Hoffmann while the Beatles were in the studio recording their first single, Love Me Do. Almost all of these cards were signed on the reverse because there was very little light area on the front for their signatures. Taken on September 4, 1962, the image shows the group in their final incarnation at the beginning of their storied career, and it is the first promo card that shows their new drummer, Ringo. This is an ideal uninscribed example boasting a full set of crisp vintage signatures. It is estimated at $20,000-$25,000.
From the classic entertainment category comes a great signed photo of Bruce Lee as Kato from the Green Hornet television series. The recipient of the photo, Roger Kay, became Bruce Lee’s first child student at his Seattle-based martial arts school, the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, in 1960. Enhanced by its remarkable provenance, this boldly signed photo of Lee as the heroic Kato is an absolute treasure for enthusiasts of both vintage television and the Little Dragon. Its estimate is $20,000-$30,000.
The Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale from RR Auction began on March 10 and will conclude on April 13. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.
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