The Mozart Cache

Over the past year or so, you, my patient readers, have read entries in which I cryptically referred to my "Mozartiana". Until now, I was not at liberty to explain what that is, because I was requested by the anonymous owner of the now-famous Mozart Cache (formerly known as the Hagenauer Cache) to "sit on this for a while and allow me to work my magic". As I write this, however, the cache is on exhibition in Milan, so I can at last unveil my treasures...

In 2006, I became acquainted with the owner (I'll refer to him as KC) and one of his business partners when they emailed to ask me some questions about an unknown portrait of Mozart. KC had found a cache of 18th century items in Italy and bought it, suspecting it to contain personal effects that Leopold Mozart had willed to his daughter, Nannerl. She in turn had willed them to the Hagenauer family (the Hagenauers had not only been the Mozarts' landlords for many years, they had also been close friends). After Nanerl died in 1829, the cache was sent to Josef Hagenauer, who lived in Trieste. In the cache was a painting that spurred worldwide speculation. (It turned out that the portrait was painted by Joseph Hickle, in Vienna, in 1783, and for a long time was known only as Man in a Red Coat, and later, The Hagenauer Mozart.)

Over the next couple of years, it and the items in the cache (which included several other portraits) were put through rigorous testing in the States, the Salzburg Mozarteum, and by Dr. Cliff Eisen at Oxford University in England. They were at last authenticated. Meantime, KC and I had struck up a warm friendship as well as a solid business relationship, and I was sent, as gifts, two small items from the cache. By small I mean in size, not importance, by the way. I am posting only thumbnails of these items at this time, because this entry is sure to lure in the Flying Monkey Brigade, and their little dogs, too. Don't bother clicking on the images - they do not embiggiate.

The first item is a letter, which is being translated. It is addressed to a bishop in Lucignano. We'll see what it says.

The second item is a book that was in Leopold's personal library. It's the text of a sacred oratorio, Discernimento De' Spiriti, by Scaramelli. In and of itself it's not much. It wasn't even an expensive book when it was published in 1764, when Wolfgang was 8 years of age. Why would Leopold keep it and pass it on? Hm. Well, it does have Leopold Mozart's personal seal in it:

But the main reason is because Wolfgang, probably trying to imitate his papa, scribbled his initials in the inside back cover as well:

Just proves that kids are kids, regardless of what century they happen to live in.
Too bad the ink ran at some point during the past two centuries.
As far as I know, this is the only childhood autograph in existence by Mozart.

Inside the book I also found a hand doodled bookmark that was made when someone cut up an old letter. The letter was written in French, but there are not enough words shown to know what it said, or to whom it was written. Who knows who doodled the bookmark... I also found a couple of light brown hairs, but I doubt anyone can make anything of them.

As much as I'd love to keep these items forever, we really need the money. My hope is that the Mozarteum will want them - they really need to be returned home, where they can be taken care of properly and kept for future generations.

UPDATE - JULY 1, 2009:
The letter has been translated, and while it has nothing to do with the Mozart family, it is valuable inasmuch as it ties the book with the Mozart Cache. I have been told that it is key in corroborating the authenticity of the book.