Exceedingly rare and extremely desirable manuscript receipt in German, signed “L. v. Beethoven,” one page, 7.5 x 8, Vienna, March 27, 1820. Certificate of receipt for a letter written to him by music publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. In full (translated): “The letter sent to me at my address in Olbmuenz by S. A. Steiner arrived today from said S. A. Steiner safely and in good condition. Vienna, this 27th day of March, 1820.” In very good condition, with intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through the “h” in his signature), trimmed bottom edge, moderate overall toning, and some unobtrusive circular staining to the left side (affecting no writing).
In 1807, Sigmund Steiner founded a music publishing firm and store in Paternostergassel, near the Graben, publishing some 2000 musical works in the first five years and gaining the attention of Vienna’s musical elite. He began publishing Beethoven’s works around 1813, and quickly developed a deeper relationship with the financially unstable composer, repeatedly serving as his ‘private bank,’ offering loans and even investing money for him from time to time. By 1820, however, Beethoven owed over 3000 florins (or gulden), a portion of which dated back as far as five years; when Steiner, in a tough financial situation himself, finally demanded the repayment, Beethoven reacted with anger. Steiner remained patient and continued to hold the composer in high regard over the next four years, as the debt was slowly repaid, but Beethoven immediately began seeking alternate publishers, beginning plans for a new collection of sonatas with Adolf Schlesinger just weeks after sending this receipt. Anything signed by the legendary composer is phenomenally difficult to find and highly sought after; this piece, with the important association to his publisher and their well-known financial struggle, is one of only a handful we have ever offered! Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.