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Original Mozart sheet music found in charity shop

9th June 2011

An original piece of sheet music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, written when he was just eight years old, has been found in a charity shop in Reading.

The booklet, containing six sonatas for the harpsichord, was written by Mozart during a visit to London in 1765 and dedicated to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.

Oxfam volunteer and musician Elestr Lee spotted the inscription – written in French – and the signature beneath and immediately realised the potential value of the booklet.

It was due to be auctioned alongside 190 other musical items at Sotheby's in London yesterday (June 8th), but Oxfam withdrew the item after a woman claiming to be the owner contacted the organisation.

Dr Simon Maguire, senior specialist in printed and manuscript music at Sotheby's, told the BBC the music was one of the first things Mozart composed when touring England as part of his Grand Tour as an infant prodigy and is definitely genuine.

'I only know of one other copy quite like this. The paper is genuine 18th-century paper. It's from having seen other similar copies that we can identify this as one that is not a fake,' he explained.

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