The complete manuscript of Mahler’s second symphony will be auctioned at Sotheby’s, London on 29 November 2016. The 232-page manuscript could become world’s most expensive manuscript if it fetches around £3.5-4.5 million ($5-7 million) that Sotheby’s has ‘guestimated.’ In that case, it would have surpassed the sales of the nine Mozart symphonies (£2.5 million, 1987) and Schumann’s second symphony (£1.5 million, 1994).
This sale comes following the death of the manuscript’s third and last owner Gilbert Kaplan early this year when he succumbed to an aggressive cancer. Before Kaplan and Mahler itself, the finished score was in the hand of the conductor Willem Mengelberg.
American businessman and economist, Kaplan became fascinated with the symphony upon seeing it performed at Carnegie Hall in 1965. He learned how to conduct the piece, which he would perform more than 100 times across the globe. He bought it from the Mengelberg Foundation in the 1980s.