“ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS MARCHING AS TO WAR” SABINE BARING-GOULD. British author of the lyrics of the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” (the music was written by Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan fame). Autograph Manuscript Signed, S. Baring-Gould, full page, legal folio, undated. He has penned five stanzas of eight lines each, of one of the … [ 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.
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 Berlioz … [ Read More ]
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: $450
AMERICAN COMPOSER AND LYRICIST OF POPULAR SONGS INCLUDING “I’M A YANKEE DOODLE DANDY”. 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 inches by 3-3/4 inches. Price: $975 This item is associated with the … [ Read More ]
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN. 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. Price: $7,500 This item is associated with the … [ Read More ]
THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT, RETAINED BY LOEWE HIMSELF, OF THIS FAMOUS AND POPULAR SONG FROM CAMELOT. FREDERICK LOEWE. 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, . Frederick Loewe writes thirty-nine lines of music and lyrics to the song, … [ Read More ]
FREDERICK LOEWE. 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 ]
“YOU’LL GO DOWN IN HISTORY!” (AND HE DID!) JOHNNY MARKS. Composer of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Autograph Musical Quotation Signed, one page, quarto, undated. In red ink. Marks write the notes and lyrics (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) of the first two measures of his hit song, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Rudolph (with his shiny nose) was … [ Read More ]
CARL PERKINS. 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 get … [ Read More ]
EDITH PIAF. 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 ]
RICHARD ROGERS. 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 ]