Extremely rare score written by Mozart and worth up to £3,000 discovered in bundle donated to charity shop
Last updated at 9:20 PM on 2nd June 2011
- Volunteer who found manuscript is expert in sheet music
- Find will net the charity thousands at auction next week
Lucky find: Austrian composer Mozart wrote the sheet music of six short sonatas which were handed in to an Oxfam shop in Newbury
A rare booklet of Mozart sheet music containing some of the composer’s earliest works has been found gathering dust in the back of a charity shop.
The collection of six short sonatas for piano and violin was printed in 1765 when Mozart was eight and visiting London as a child prodigy.
Only one other is thought to have survived.
It lay neglected among other donations at the Oxfam Music Shop in Reading for more than a month until one of the volunteers, music teacher Elestr Lee, spotted it.
Oxfam stands to benefit by around £3,000 when the 31-page booklet dedicated to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, is auctioned by Sotheby’s on Wednesday.
Shop manager Paul Hunter said without their eagle-eyed volunteer the manuscript might never have been uncovered.
He said: 'I'm not sure I even would have noticed it - it's very tatty and covered in tape, so if it was left to an untrained eye, it could have ended up in the bin.
'We are very lucky to have Elstr.'
He added: 'She is a music teacher and an expert in sheet music and when she investigated it she found there was only one other copy of the edition in the world.
'The piece was actually donated to our Newbury shop but it came to Reading about a month ago with various other pieces of sheet music.
'Whoever donated the piece did not mention it, so it seems they may not have realised the value of it.'
The manuscript was among a bundle of documents that were handed into the shop. It is to be auctioned next week
Mr Hunter added: 'We've had a lot of classic records before, but we've never had anything on this kind of scale.
'The most we have received for an item is £500 and the sheet music is expected to fetch around £3,000 for Oxfam.'
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