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Ken's Korner: Beethoven in the news: skull studied, score sold

Ken’s Korner: Beethoven in the news: skull studied, score sold – The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles – February 2006
More than 175 years after his death in 1827, composer Ludwig von Beethoven continues to make news. First came reports that a California businessman was in possession of skull fragments that he says were those of Beethoven’s. Paul Kaufmann, a descendant of the composer, inherited the bones in 1990. They were contained in a pear-shaped box etched with the name “Beethoven” on top. They will be studied to determine if the composer died from lead poisoning, a widely held belief.
Meanwhile, a working manuscript of Beethoven’s that was rediscovered last year by a librarian at the Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., has been sold for $1.72 million through Sotheby’s in London. The 80-page work, “Grosse Fuge,” is a piano duet version (opus 134) of the last movement of Beethoven’s string quartet in B flat (opus 130). An anonymous phone bidder was the buyer. Sotheby’s called it the most substantial Beethoven work to be sold in over a century.
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