The Star Spangled Banner, composed by Francis Scott Key in 1813, is one of the earliest American musical masterpieces. This version of the tune was bound into a songbook of popular songs published in 1814, which is the first known edition of the song published. It has been removed carefully from the binding to be sold individually.
There are only eleven copies of this edition of the song able to be located presently. All of them are owned by museums, universities, or music preservation foundations. If this copy sells to a private owner, it will become the only privately owned copy of the music. It is expected to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000 this week.
The owners of the music, two retired antiques dealers from Pennsylvania, bought the music at a small auction for $50. They were thrilled to discover the rarity of the item. They will, no doubt, be even more thrilled when a hefty check arrives.