A Manuscript by Composer Gustav Mahler Just Sold For $5.6M at Auction

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Gustav Mahler

The manuscript of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony sold for a record-breaking $5.6 million on Tuesday (Nov. 29).

Sotheby’s, the auction house that sold the manuscript, expected it to sell from anywhere between 4.3 million and 5.5 million. The manuscript had never been offered or sold on the open market until now.

According to the auction house, the only other notable manuscript sale to compare it to was the manuscript of nine Mozart symphonies in 1987, which sold for $2.5 million.

The 232-page manuscript, also known as the Resurrection Symphony, includes Mahler’s deletions, alterations and annotations, with some even made in blue crayon.

The manuscript was sold by the estate of businessman Gilbert Kaplan. Kaplan became fond of the work after seeing it performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1965 and had dreamed of being able to conduct the piece himself. Ultimately, he went on to conduct the symphony in more than 100 performances.

The new buyer has chosen to stay anonymous.


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