Certainly, he hasn’t been using it lately. Collected when the composer’s composer succumbed to liver failure in 1827 at the age of 57 (let that be a lesson to you drinkers out there), Ludwig van Beethoven’s skull has traveled a long way from his Viennese deathbed to the hands of California businessman Paul Kaufmann, who is now auctioning off the one-of-a-kind musical momento mori.
A family heirloom of sorts, the skull was first exhumed by Kaufmann’s great-great uncle, one of a group of physicians who studied Beethoven’s remains in 1863 for scientific study inspired by the contemporary interest in phrenology. While Kaufman hopes to net around $100,000 for the relic, Sotheby’s auction house has declined to sell it, meaning the bones that once held the mind that created “Symphony No. 9 in D Minor” are being offered to the public via email (interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org). While Kaufman and musical scholars hope the skull winds up in a respectable institution (like Galileo’s middle finger or John Wilkes Booth’s spine) re-interred with the rest of the maestro, it would look just lovely atop a grand piano a la Shroeder.
“For Sale: Beethoven’s Skull” [Huffington Post]