The rediscovered melody by Sir Edward Elgar estimated in the region of £1000 at Richard Winterton’s Library sale on March 26.

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Richard Winterton’s March 26 Library sale in Fradley Park, Lichfield, offered the 1924 signed manuscript and the autograph book.

The book had been collected by Lydia Tabb (1897-1983), a matron and fundraiser for the children’s charity Barnardo’s who died in 1983, and the items were consigned by her family.

The autograph album dates from 1923 and contains about 69 signatures including five prime ministers and authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells, Sir JM Barrie and Rudyard Kipling.

The Elgar manuscript and the autograph collection were sold as two separate lots and hammered down at £9000 in total.

The manuscript sold for £5400 and the autograph collection for £3600.

Autograph book

The autograph book where the Elgar manuscript was found.

Winterton said that 1000 people were watching the sale online and the auction house recorded 35 registered bidders for this lot, as well as bidders on the phones and a packed saleroom.

He added: “It just showed what an incredible find this was… And the vendors were in the room, which put extra pressure on. We are absolutely delighted with these results – a very well-deserved total hammer price of £9000.”

The manuscript carried an estimate in the region of £1000. Buyer’s premium was 17.5%.

Believed to be scored for a string quartet, it was heard for the first time in more than 100 years when pianists Heather Broome and Tony Slater played the piece after transcribing it for piano ahead of the auction.

Sir Edward William Elgar (1857-1934) is regarded as one of England’s greatest composers, with many of his compositions featuring in classical concert repertoires all over the world.