Any bargains? Composer manuscripts turn up on ebay

Any bargains? Composer manuscripts turn up on ebay


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2015

A California is offering what purport to be authentic handwritten documents by Bartok, Berlioz, Debussy, Liszt, Mahler, Schumann and others on the international auction site. Bidding starts as low as $140. The dealers want at least $19,000 for the Liszt manuscript (below), which has a seller’s estimate of $40-60,000.

liszt manuscript


No description is offered, and no hint of original provenance. The collection is said to have belonged to ‘the late William K Steiner’, apparently a dry-cleaning machines millionaire.

Bidders enter the auction at their own risk. There are three days left before the virtual hammer falls.

Click here for auction.


  • Hilary says:

    It hope the money goes to relatives of the composers.

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    The auction is being held by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers. They have been in business for many years and are VERY well known as dealers in, as well as auctioneers of, collectible coins. You can indeed bid on these music manuscripts through eBay. But you can also go directly to the website of the auctioneer where you will find more information than on eBay and also a lower buyer’s premium (20% vs. 25% if bidding through eBay).

    Every reader of Slipped Disc knows about Jascha Heifetz. But how many know that Jascha Heifetz had a major collection of collectible coins? That collection was sold in a record-setting auction in 1989. Which auction gallery sold it? Superior Galleries. Who owned Superior Galleries? Ira and Larry Goldberg. Their grandfather started the coin business they now run.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I looked into the catalogue and to my surprise they had the first, discarded sketch of my ‘Menuet in Sea’ for a mere 2 dollars and 50 cents.

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    The auction is now over. You can look at all the results here:

    The Liszt manuscript that Norman highlights sold for $34,000 (+ the buyer’s premium)

    See it here: