Berkshire

Mozart sheet music found at Reading charity shop

Six sonatas for piano and violin by Mozart
Image caption The rare sheet music was donated to Oxfam in Newbury, Berkshire

A rare booklet of music by Mozart has been discovered after it was donated to a charity shop.

Elestr Lee, from the Oxfam music shop in Reading, opened a box of sheet music and immediately knew the tatty score on top was unusual.

It turned out to be sheet music for six short sonatas printed in 1765 when Mozart was visiting London aged eight.

The music is expected to raise up to £3,000 when it is auctioned on Wednesday at Sotheby's.

"It was obviously very old because it was engraved and so I started to research it," said Ms Lee, a classical musician who volunteers at Oxfam.

She translated the French writing on the front and discovered the booklet of sonatas, for piano and violin, was a rare second printing of a first edition and that only one other copy is known to exist.

"It was terribly exciting," she said.

"I left a rather garbled message for Sotheby's and they phoned me back and said: 'Yes we do think this is interesting'."

The auction house wanted to see the booklet on the same day so Ms Lee "leapt on a train" with the rare find.

The charity does not know who made the donation.

"It was just a box of sheet music that the Newbury shop couldn't sell, so because we're a specialist music shop they sent it to us," said Ms Lee.

"Nobody can remember who handed it in.

"We have no idea where it's been sitting for the last 250 years."

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