2020-07 2 sessions
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/24/2020
1850 sheet music measures approx. 10 1/8" by 13 1/4", 6pp., and is the 1st edition of a song titled "Ossian's Serenade." The cover features a wonderful view of the great showman Phineas T. Barnum introducing Jenny Lind to singer, songwriter, humorist, guitar player and quite popular performer Ossian E. Dodge. The image is captioned "P. T. Barnum introducing Maselle. Jenny Lind to Ossian E. Dodge, The Boston Vocalist & purchaser of the $625 Ticket for the First Concert of the Swedish Nightingale in Boston." The sheet music as originally published. The music was written and composed by Ossian E. Dodge, and is copyright 1850 by the author. Further text below the illustration reads "As Sung by Ossian E. Dodge At Most of his Fashionable Entertainments Throughout the Union". The sheet music was published for Dodge by Oliver Ditson of Boston. Dodge, (born 1820 - died 1876) was a singer, songwriter, humorist, guitar player and semi popular performer of the mid-19th century. He often performed alone but also worked with Bernard Covert as half a "temperance duo" and was also the leader of an ensemble called "Ossian's Bards." Critics were not kind to Dodge writing him off as a "comic singer" whose "comic power consisted largely in grotesque grimaces". His fortunes changed, however, when he was the lucky (or should we say Barnumesquely smart) winner of the highly publicized auction that Barnum held as a promotional event for Jenny Lind's first appearance in Boston. Dodge paid the unheard of sum of $625 for the ticket and became an almost instant "celebrity." He immediately commissioned the lithograph depicted on the cover of this and it appeared in nearly every shop window in Boston. A separate lithograph was printed and Dodge used it as a promotional poster for his appearances. Attendance at his own concerts skyrocketed and the price he could charge for tickets quadrupled. In the nine months after he spent $625 for Barnum's ticket it was reported that he netted over $11,000 appearing throughout New England "accompanying himself on a guitar."
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In Barnumesque Cunning, This Songwriter Turns $625 Into $11,000

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $50.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $87.50
Estimate: $100 - $200
Auction closed on Friday, July 24, 2020.
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