George Gershwin Collection, ca. 1930
Appraised Value: $18,000 - $24,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:05)
Books & Manuscripts
Senior Vice President & International Department Head of Printed Books and Manuscripts
APPRAISER: Who was in this picture you brought here?
GUEST: So this is my great-uncle Silius, right here...
APPRAISER: Okay, right near you.
GUEST: ...who was the youngest brother of a family of eight boys. And he was a child prodigy in Minnesota. He went to Juilliard, and he was a composer. My uncle Silius and his friend Adolph Razika were duo pianists in Europe, and they traveled together.
APPRAISER: Okay, excellent. Now what do you have here?
GUEST: This is a place card that was written for an opera singer that my uncle Silius wrote songs for. Her name was Eva Gauthier, she's a Canadian. Silius was the executor of her estate. And so one night, George Gershwin-- her friend, and she was his mentor-- had a dinner party, and these were the place cards that he made to help people find their dinner seat. So that's her place card.
APPRAISER: Yes, and in his script is "The Man I Love." It's a musical notation for "The Man I Love." And on the back, as you said, it is a place card.
APPRAISER: Signed by Gershwin, April 11th, 1929.
APPRAISER: Now what you brought here is a copy of a Gershwin biography, it's by Isaac Goldberg, which is a very good biography of Gershwin. But what we've got on the frontispiece, right here, a portrait of Gershwin, inscribed with a very lengthy and informative inscription to Eva Gauthier. It says, "For Eva Gauthier, my dear friend, "to whom I'm so indebted for my start on the concert stage. "In admiration and with every good wish, George Gershwin, January 20th, 1932." And what do we have down here?
GUEST: And down there is the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue written in his hand.
APPRAISER: Rhapsody in Blue was such a big success that he did often inscribe with that. But the relationship that they had... And I believe she was someone that really did inspire him to get out of Tin Pan Alley and kind of move upscale into the world where he remains today, one of the greatest composers our country has known. It's a fabulous inscription. It was published in 1931. He died six years later from a brain tumor.
APPRAISER: Regrettably early. It's a great package you've brought, and a connection that not everybody knew, how this woman, who very little is known about her, how she impacted someone who we know so well. The book itself, we've had other copies of it inscribed. Good inscriptions, nothing like this, nothing down to the real kind of essence of where he got his start. And because of that, we would put an auction estimate of $15,000 to $20,000 on the book alone.
APPRAISER: And this also is not without value either. Because it's music, and it's one of his great pieces, these autographed composition quotations can bring sometimes $3,000 and $4,000 at auction. And that's where I would place that auction, $3,000 to $4,000. Together, you're looking at about $18,000 to $24,000 worth of very nice Gershwin material.
GUEST: I love that. How fun is this?
APPRAISER: This is great. I really appreciate you coming in with it.
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