Remarkable Italian violinist and composer (1782–1840) generally regarded as the greatest virtuoso in the history of the instrument. Ink signature and sentiment, in Italian, (translated): “Who will keep this forever in the memory of Paganini Niccolo, Elberfeld, 6.22 May 1830” on an off-white 5.5 x 4 card, possibly taken from a photo mount, with two coiled violin strings which Paganini tied near the bottom. Uniform mild toning, otherwise fine condition. An unbelievable souvenir presentation from the most celebrated violinist of his time.
During a performance at the height of his career, it is frequently told, Paganini broke a string on his violin, stopped for a moment to retune the remaining three, and resumed playing. A moment later, another broke, and again he resumed; finally, a third broke, leaving him with only one string, on which he was able to beautifully play the remainder of his piece. As Paganini’s fame spread across Europe, so did this tale of his miraculous ability. Rumors swirled of his dealings with the devil that gave him his talent, and his strings became the stuff of legend, with speculation not only on the spirit they held, but also on their making (the intestines of a former lover, some even suggested). The truth behind the story, though significantly less sensational, underscores his phenomenal talent. While writing his own compositions, Paganini taught himself to play significant portions on only one string. To boost his reputation, he would begin concerts with weakened strings, anticipating their breaking so that he could awe the crowd with his ‘impromptu’ single-string completion of the difficult works. This remarkable souvenir, presented during one of his two performances in the small German municipality of Elberfeld in May of 1830, holds all the charm and intrigue of the masterful violinist at the peak of his career. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.