The original manuscript of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 broke a record on Tuesday morning, selling for £4.5m (approximately 5.63 million U.S. dollars) in a Sotheby's auction.
Sotheby's called it "the most significant musical manuscript ever to have been offered at auction." Simon Maguire, senior specialist in books and manuscripts for Sotheby's, points out, "No complete symphony by Mahler, written in the composer's own hand, has ever been offered at auction, and probably none will be offered again,
Four indiviuals bid on the score via telephone, and the person with the winning bid has chosen to remain anonymous.
At the same auction, a Beethoven manuscript for his 1817 work, Allegretto in B minor, was expected to fetch close to £200,000. However, it failed to sell after its authenticity was brought into question. A musicologist pointed out inconsistencies on BBC Radio 4's Today: "[With] some of the notes it's slightly ambiguous, [with] other notes it's clear the copiers simply miscopied a note in a way that Beethoven certainly wouldn't — there's no doubt about that."
The video below shows the moment Mahler's manuscript was sold at Sotheby's.