Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Letters for Posterity

Ludwig van Beethoven 1820
A letter written in 1823 by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has been recently discovered in a collection bequeathed by a music teacher to the Lübeck Brahms Institute. In the three-page document, believed to be worth up to 150,000 euros, Beethoven asks a fellow composer for help to drum up money. This letter will be presented to the public on Jan. 18 and will be put on display at the institute's museum until Jan. 29.

The value of original writings by Beethoven became evident last year when a six-word shopping list he wrote sold for €60,000 at an auction. Why are we so fascinated with the writings of famous people?  Does having a tangible piece, that a figure from history also touched, make them somehow more real? With a letter, is the intimacy of taking pen in hand and putting forth personal thoughts even more of a connection?

Maybe your letters can't be an investment that turns into this kind of profit in the future, but somehow it's just impossible to imagine emails being auctioned off for six figures. Write a letter for posterity. You never know where it might end up.,1518,808302,00.html

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