Price: $1,750 American jazz trumpet player. Three-quarter length Photograph of Armstrong wearing a white suit, and playing his trumpet, Signed and Inscribed in green ink in the upper right portion, “To Max Turner… Louis Armstrong.” The black and white photograph measures 8 inches wide by 10 inches high. Matted in ivory and gray, and framed … [ Read More ]
Collectible Autographs from Famous Musicians and Composers
The world of signed letters, signed documents, autograph signatures relating to music is the most international of all the fields of autograph collecting. Every culture listens to the music of the Western world, and collectors everywhere seek to possess something by the geniuses who have made the music that enriches our lives. The rarity and availability of autograph signatures and signed pieces by composers is as varied as their music. Signed letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are a once in a lifetime occurrence, and his autograph musical notations are approaching that degree of rarity. Only slightly less rare are signed letters of Ludwig van Beethoven. Frédéric Chopin's early death at the age of 39 contributes to the rarity of his signed letters which, like those of many other composers, have been collected by institutional libraries and museums for decades. Giacchino Rossini's long life and great popularity have made his letters much less rare, and while the composer of William Tell is in significant demand, his signed and autograph pieces can be found. Despite Felix Mendelssohn's relatively short life – he died at the age of 38 – he enjoyed considerable fame and popularity during his lifetime, and wrote and signed many letters, which everyone saved. His signature is very clear and there is no question who signed. The demand for his autograph signature and signed letters is balanced by the number of pieces that have been saved and treasured.
Franz Liszt, who enjoyed a long life and great popularity, wrote many letters providing the modern collector with the opportunity to obtain fine examples of his autograph signature at reasonable prices. Richard Wagner [see separate listing - Lee Goldberg: put the citation in here to go directly to that page] was enormously popular during his lifetime. He wrote many autograph signatures and signed letters, and the collector today benefits from these pieces having been treasured and saved. Johannes Brahms is much scarcer in autograph signatures and signed letters, and is equally popular; according, he has become quite difficult to find. Johann Strauss the younger, popularly known as “the Waltz King,” is not nearly as common in autograph signatures and signed letters as one might imagine, given his great popularity during his lifetime and the decades since.
The autograph signatures and signed letters of the great Italian operatic composer Giuseppe Verde were sought after during his career, and have been treasured since. He lived a long life, and has always been very popular among collectors of autograph signatures and signed letters, which are usually of a social nature. The great and popular Russian composer of this epic, Peter Tchaikovsky, whose ballets are still among the most popular in the world, is rare in signed letters as well as autograph signatures. The French composers Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Maurice Ravel are available in autograph signatures and signed letters. More popular in contemporary operatic performances and among collectors is Giacomo Puccini. Puccini’s long life span and his enormous popularity, both during his lifetime and in the decades since, have ensured that his signed letters would be saved. Puccini's admirers have very actively collected his signed letters, and though it is now rare to find letters with the emotional and musical content that were available several decades ago, fine examples of his autograph signature and signed letters can be found.
George Gershwin's popularity has soared in recent years and, despite his popularity during his lifetime and in the decades since, his autograph signature and signed letters are not common. This is largely because of his relatively short life span. Cole Porter is also very scarce and the demand for his autograph material is far greater than the number of pieces that come onto the market. Irving Berlin did not give his autograph very commonly, but his long life span has ensured that there are autograph examples for his admirers. Leonard Bernstein was generally willing to give his autograph signature, and his signed letters are equally available on the market. Duke Ellington was also very willing to sign autographs and fine examples can be obtained.
Price: $8,500 British rock n’ roll singers. Signatures, on one page in an octavo notebook belonging to a girl named Nicola,  . Inscribed “McCartney loves Nicola (true)”, the inscription annotated by McCartney’s sketch of three flowers. Ringo Starr signs “love Ringo Starr” and John Lennon signs it twice, with the second signature partly deleted. … [ Read More ]
Price: $1,500 American composer. Printed Sheet Music, to his 1913 song That International Rag, signed boldly by Irving Berlin on the front cover, five pages, 13 1/2 by 10 1/4 inches. The brightly colored cover is attractively illustrated with a scene showing Uncle Sam directing a chorus dressed in international costumes Fine condition, bound in … [ Read More ]
Price: $6,500 French composer of “Symphonie Fantastique.” Autograph Musical Quotation, written on the back flap of an envelop addressed to Monsieur Alizard. Together with an Autograph Inscription Signed, two lines on one page, octavo, [Paris], December 15, 1838, to the violinist Alexandre-Jean Boucher; with the integral address leaf attached. In his Autograph Musical Quotation, Hector … [ Read More ]
Price: $4,500 French composer of “Symphonie Fantastique.” Autograph Letter Signed, H. Berloiz, one page, small octavo, n. d. To Lindan. “Here are two seats for the concert Sunday. Do try to come.” Framed in sand, dark brown and gilt with a portrait photograph. Framed dimensions: 13 inches wide by 10 inches high.
Price: $450 American composer and conductor. Half-length postcard Photograph of the maestro conducting, Signed across the light portion of his image. The black and white photograph of Leonard Bernstein measures 6 inches wide by 4 inches high.
Price: $8,750 French composer of “Carmen.” Autograph Letter Signed, one page, octavo, undated. “Here you are — you only need to have the last chorus translated, which had been suppressed and which was successfully reinstated at the last moment. As to the rest, you could request the translation from the Italians.” Framed in soft blue, … [ Read More ]
Price: $12,500 Russian composer. Autograph Letter Signed, A. Borodin, two and one-half pages, octavo, St. Petersburg, May 6, 1884. To My dear Monsieur Jadoul. “I have just received your letter accompanied by two programs at once. I thank you infinitely for the kindness of having performed my piece and having notified me of its success. … [ Read More ]
Price: $975 American composer and lyricist of popular songs including I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Autograph Sentiment Signed, Yankee Doodlefully, Geo M Cohan, on the verso of his business card, 1 1/4 by 3 3/4 inches. This item is associated with the following category in our inventory: Musicians / Composers
Price: $950 American composer, producer and actor. Autograph Letter Signed, one page, quarto, October 3, 1925. To Julius [Witmark]. “This will introduce Mr. Murphy of Boston a friend of mine who has written and is writing songs, words and music. He has played over several of his numbers for me and there might be something … [ Read More ]
Price: $5,750 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Letter Signed, Donizetti, one page, quarto, Monday, undated. Fine condition. “Last night, Mr. Scribe set the rehearsal of the production of my opera for tomorrow night; you find me thus forced to refuse, in spite of my wishes, to accept your dinner invitation, and I shall say, as does … [ Read More ]
Price: $5,750 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, Mr. Joelsson et Mr. Gaetano Donizetti, four measures on two lines of music paper, with lyrics, inscribed “Here is the theme which struck you.” Undated. A fine musical example. Framed in antiqued beaded gilt; matted in gray and umber. Framed with a vintage postcard photograph of … [ Read More ]
Price: $12,500 American minstrel and song writer. Autograph Inscription Signed, Daniel D. Emmett / author of / Dixie’s Land. (1859) / “Den I wish I was in Dixie!”; one page, quarto, undated. On a sheet apparently from an autograph album; verso with an inscription dated 1904. Daniel D Emmett writes a line from the refrain … [ Read More ]
Price: $17,500 American Rock ‘n Roll singer; leader of the Grateful Dead. Autograph Manuscript, one page, legal folio, . Garcia handwrites the lyrics to the song, The Maker, which he played in concert with the Jerry Garcia band from 1992. On a yellow-lined sheet of paper. “Oh deep water Black and cold like the nite … [ Read More ]
Price: $5,750 American composer of Rhapsody in Blue. Sepia-tone Photograph of Gershwin in profile, playing the piano, Signed, Inscribed and Dated on the lower margin, “To Hyman Sandow – All good wishes / George Gershwin / Feb. ’28”. A slight defect in the photographic surface, in the center upper portion, not affecting the image of … [ Read More ]
Price: $5,750 Norwegian composer; wrote the “Peer Gynt Suite.” Bust-length portrait photograph of the composer in formal dress, looking to the right, signed in the light lower portion. The photograph measures 5 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches and is in fine condition. Framed in beige, garnet and antique beaded gilt. Framed dimensions: 9 1/4 inches … [ Read More ]
Price: $7,500 African American blues composer. Autograph Musical Quotation Signed and Inscribed, “The Memphis Blues / to Lionel A Aucoin by W. C. Handy”, on a one-page sheet with three staves, narrow oblong quarto, February 13, 1946. Below his inscription, Handy has written two measures from his song with the lyrics, “They had a fiddler … [ Read More ]
Price: $10,000 Austrian composer. Signature, Haydn, with his paraph, on a 2 1/4 by 2 1/2 inch sheet. Matted in beige and brick with a vintage photograph of an oil portrait. Framed in decorative carved gilt measuring 9 1/2 inches wide by 15 1/2 inches high. This item is associated with the following categories: Musicians/ … [ Read More ]
Price: $12,500 Austrian composer. Printed musical score signed, Haydn [paraph manu propria], on the title page of Ariana a Naxos, Cantata a Voce Sola, first British edition, 18 pages, oblong folio. London: Published for Haydn by J. Bland. Rare. Franz Haydn gave the music publisher John Bland the copyright to Ariana when the two first … [ Read More ]
Price: $3,750 American jazz singer. Autograph Sentiment Signed, “For Kayo / Sincerely / Billie Holiday,” in black pen on a card measuring 4 1/4 inches wide by 3 inches high. “Lady Day” (a nickname given to her by her friend and musical partner Lester Young) had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her … [ Read More ]
Price: $6,750 Buddy Holly and The Crickets. American Rock ‘n Roll singers. Album cover for The Chirping Crickets, signed in blue ink on the front by Buddy Holly (who adds, Best of luck to you), his drummer Jerry Allison, and bassist Joe Maudlin. A notation on the back states, “March 21, 1958, Walthamstow, the Crickets.” … [ Read More ]
Price: $6,000 American composer of Broadway musicals. “Show Boat.” Autograph Musical Quotation Signed Jerome Kern and inscribed ”To my young friend Bill Fowler with every good wish from his sincerely Jerome Kern.” December 1939. Kern has penned two measures of the song Why do I Love You from the musical Show Boat, on the title page … [ Read More ]
Price: $15,000 American composer. Autograph Musical Manuscript Signed Jerome Kern twice, on the title page and to the right of the song title on the first page, six pages, folio, October 1, 192. Entitled Look Whos Here! This unpublished manuscript is the Opening Chorus Song, Miners, Girls and Band, from Act III of Look Whos Here!, … [ Read More ]
Price: $8,500 Member of the Beatles. Full-length octavo-size printed photograph of Lennon with Paul, George and Ringo, boldly signed by John Lennon above his image. Framed in sand, charcoal and gilt measuring 10 ½ inches wide by 13 inches high.
Price: $1,850 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, one page, oblong octavo, Milan, April 14, 1901. The composer pens three measures of the vocal line from Act IV of his opera ZaZa, with the lyrics written underneath. Framed with a vintage postcard photograph in wheat and purple. The gilt frame measures 18 1/2 inches … [ Read More ]
Price: $2,750 Hungarian composer. Autograph Letter Signed, three pages, octavo, March 11, 1841. In French, to Monsieur Kuranda. “…I was wrong…to ask you to come to me on Saturday at 3 o’clock. My business manager, Monsieur Billon, will send you what we agreed on. If, however, you have a moment free on Saturday, I will … [ Read More ]
Price: $37,500 Vienna-born American songwriter. Autograph Musical Manuscript of one of his most famous songs from Camelot, “Fie On Goodness,” three and one-quarter pages, large quarto, . THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT, RETAINED BY LOEWE HIMSELF, OF THIS FAMOUS AND POPULAR SONG FROM CAMELOT. Frederick Loewe writes thirty-nine lines of music and lyrics to the song, … [ Read More ]
Price: $22,500 Vienna-born American songwriter. Autograph Musical Manuscript of one of his most famous songs from Camelot, “Then you may take me to the Fair,” two pages, large quarto, . With the title page bearing the notation, “Guenevere, men”. THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT, RETAINED BY LOEWE HIMSELF, OF THIS FAMOUS AND POPULAR SONG FROM CAMELOT. … [ Read More ]
Price: $8,500 Vienna-born American songwriter. Autograph Musical Manuscript of one of his songs intended for Camelot, “We All Had A Glorious Time,” one and one-half pages, large quarto, . THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT, RETAINED BY LOEWE HIMSELF, OF THIS UNPUBLISHED SONG FOR CAMELOT. Frederick Loewe writes eighteen lines of music to the song, “We All … [ Read More ]
Price: $8,750 German composer. Autograph Letter Signed, one page, large quarto. Leipzig, May 12, 1846. In French. To Signor Marchese Domenico Capranica in Rome. “I thank you sincerely and from my heart for the translation of my St. Paul you kindly sent me; you provided me a real pleasure with this consignment and the agreeable … [ Read More ]
Price: $8,500 American singer, songwriter, and guitarist; wrote “Blue Suede Shoes.” Autograph Manuscript Signed, one page, quarto, 1991. On Perkins’ personal letterhead. Carl Perkins has transcribed six lines of lyrics from his 1956 hit “Blue Suede Shoes”. “‘Blue Suede Shoes’ / Well it’s one for the money / Two for the show / Three to … [ Read More ]
Price: $3,750 French singer and actress whose interpretation of the Chanson, or French ballad, made her internationally famous. A vintage “real photo” portrait postcard of the legendary chanteuse in a wistful gaze, inscribed in the dark lower portion, Pour Mademoiselle Yvette Pichou en toute sympathie, Edith Piaf, undated . The postcard measures 3 1/2 inches … [ Read More ]
Price: $2,750 French singer and actress whose interpretation of the Chanson, or French ballad, made her internationally famous. A close-up, head-shot Photograph of the legendary chanteuse in a wistful gaze, her hand on her cheek, Signed Edith Piaf and Inscribed in the dark upper portion, “Pour Monsieur Maurice Croifer / Sympathique… / Edith Piaf”. The black … [ Read More ]
Price: $8,750 American composer. Document Signed, four pages, legal folio, May 8, 1953. Also signed by Porter’s co-librettists P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The contract concerns the production of the musical play, Anything Goes, “on the spoken stage in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland in a first-class manner…” and is made between Cole … [ Read More ]
Price: $2,750 American composer. Formal bust-length portrait photograph of the composer, sporting a polka dot tie and a carnation in his lapel, Signed in the light right portion above his shoulder. The sepia-toned photograph measures 4 1/2 inches wide by 6 3/4 inches high. Matted in cream and yellow, and framed in antiqued gilt. Framed … [ Read More ]
Price: $8,500 American rock ‘n roll singer. Record Album Signed and Inscribed on the front cover, “To Kevin / Best Wishes / Elvis Presley,” in the clear lower right portion of the album. The 1956 RCA Victor Album, “Elvis,” includes the songs, “Rip It Up,” “Love Me,” “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again,” … [ Read More ]
Price: $9,500 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, in Italien, the opening measures of Mi chiamano Mimi from La Bohème, on a printed postcard photograph of Giacomo Puccini, [October 18, 1902]. The postcard is addressed to Signorina Ferrabini, a connoisseur of song in Livorno. Framed in cream, emerald and decorative gilt. Framed dimensions: 11 … [ Read More ]
Price: $17,500 Italian operatic composer. Autograph sketch leaf from the Bible Scene from the composers opera, La Fanciulla del West [The Girl of the Golden West]. Two pages [recto and verso], folio [14 by 9 inches], on lined music paper. Puccinis working manuscript, with corrections and deletions, thirty bars total, scored for voice and accompaniment. … [ Read More ]
Price: $12,500 French composer. Autograph Letter Signed, two full pages, octavo, June 7, 1916. Written during his World War I service to his Marraine [de guerre], Mme Fernand Dreyfus, mother of the composer Roland-Manuel. Fine condition. Your label didn’t surprise me; since arriving here I have been having a misperception that packages and perhaps letters … [ Read More ]
Price: $7,500 Russian composer. Printed Letter Signed, N. Rimsky-Korsakow, two pages, quarto, St. Petersburg, November/December 1906. As president of the committee organizing the celebration of Glazunov’s 25th anniversary as a composer, to an unnamed “leading person connected with music and art.” Also signed by two of the committee members, A. I. Siloti and A. K. … [ Read More ]
Price: $7,500 Composer and librettist of film and Broadway musicals. Mimeograph Document Signed in ink, 52 pages, quarto, May 4, 1940. The agreement between Rodgers and Hart and RKO Radio Pictures for exclusive motion picture rights to the musical comedy Too Many Girls. The agreement contains clauses regarding advertising, musical recording rights and distribution rights. … [ Read More ]
Price: $4,750 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Letter Signed, one very full page, quarto, Bologna, August 2, 1847. To Filippo Santocanale, Esq. “The fear of bothering you is what keeps me from writing you more often. Since I am tormented by the heirs of my late wife, I must now write to you begging you, entreating … [ Read More ]
Price: $4,750 Composer of the Marseillaise. Autograph Letter Signed, Rouget de Lisle, two pages, octavo, April 29, 1829. To Mr. Lafebvre, saying that he is embarrassed not to have answered his letters, and that his health prevents him from travelling. Horizontal fold expertly repaired, otherwise fine. This item is associated with the following category in … [ Read More ]
Price: $22,500 Austrian composer. Printed piano and vocal score for Suleika und Geheimes aus dem westӧstlichen Divan von Goethe, original edition, bearing Franz Schubert’s signature and handwritten control mark on the verso of the last leaf, “N:180 Schbts.” Vienna: Cappi and Diabelli, . 15 pages, folio. A fine example with complete intact control mark and … [ Read More ]
Price: $1,750 Finnish composer of “Finlandia.” Typewritten Letter Signed, two pages, octavo, Järvenpää, August 13, 1954. To Cyril Clemens, with original envelope. “…The Olaf’s Castle is one of the finest tourist attractions of Finland. Though I have seen all places in my country that are worth seeing, curiously enough I have never been to Savonlinna. … [ Read More ]
Price: $3,250 Finnish composer. Bust-length portrait photograph of the brooding composer, wearing a dark suit and resting his chin on his hand, signed in the dark portion with good contrast. The photograph of Jean Sibelius measures 6 by 4 inches. Fine condition. This item is associated with the following category in our inventory: Musicians / … [ Read More ]
Price: $6,750 Viennese composer of waltzes. Autograph Letter Signed, one page, octavo, undated, [Saturday]. To a colleague. As no concert is taking place today Herr Geber is asking for a new program for Sunday, as the one which would have been given tomorrow has already been publicized twice. I have therefore taken the liberty … [ Read More ]
Price: $12,500 Viennese composer of waltzes. Very fine contemporary carte-de-visite size photograph of the Waltz King, wearing formal attire and medals, inscribed to Monsieur Tudshoorn in bold blue pencil, and signed beneath the image of Johann Strauss. A fine example. Matted in tan and claret, in an antique gilt frame measuring 9 inches wide by … [ Read More ]
Price: $4,750 Russian composer of Firebird. Typewritten Document Signed, a carbon typescript signed in ink, one page, quarto, April 27, 1964. A legal agreement with Paul Kohner, Inc., in which Stravinsky states “that you acted as my exclusive agent in procuring employment…with Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica…covering my services as composer and conductor of music in … [ Read More ]
Price: $17,500 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, “G. Verdi,” 1889, one page, from “Otello.” On an album page, Giuseppe Verdi has penned five notes from the arresting theme of the “Ave Maria” (“Prega per chi ado[rando]” or “Pray for all sho adore…”) from the fourth act of his tragic opera “Otello.” Interestingly, Verdi … [ Read More ]
Price: $12,500 Italian operatic composer. Autograph Note Signed, G Verdi, with a musical quotation of one measure, one page, small octavo, undated [end of April or May 1, 1874]. In purple ink, to his publisher, Giulio Ricordi. With the original envelope. Giuseppe Verdi. “In the printed edition at p. 36, in the figure for trumpet, … [ Read More ]
Price: $35,000 German operatic composer. Autograph Musical Manuscript, Richard Wagner, one page, small oblong octavo, [Paris], undated but circa March 1861. A manuscript comprising Tannhäuser’s final words in the second Act “Vers Rome,” in score, for voices and strings. Four measures, notated in pencil on six staves. This is probably an alteration attached to the … [ Read More ]
Price: $4,250 German composer. Autograph Quotation Signed Carl Maria von Weber, oblong octavo sheet, Perseverance leads to the goal! Bremen, September 3, 1820, on…journey to Copenhagen. This item is associated with the following category in our inventory: Musicians / Composers