Could a letter from Mozart really finance a new business?
When an eccentric but beloved elderly uncle dies suddenly, and you’re the sole surviving relative who also happens to be in the middle of trying to raise funds to grow your successful business to the next level, life can become a little fraught.
Welcome to Danek’s world. His Uncle Izak, a former (but long-retired) concert pianist, was a loveable oddball who spoke in the stubbornly un-Anglicised accent of the “Old Country” (Poland) until his final days, despite having lived in the UK since the 1960s. When news of Izak's sudden death from a massive stroke arrived, 48-year-old Danek had taken the momentous decision to raise money to expand his high-end catering business and was exploring borrowing options. To set up, equip and staff new premises in a neighbouring town, he needed an additional £100,000 in funds.
Now Danek would have to face the oddly incompatible yet intertwined processes of mourning a loved one and the pragmatics of arranging funerals and sorting through stacks of memorabilia and precious possessions in Izak’s crammed town house.
It was while he and his wife were sorting through Izak’s apparently infinite collection of possessions that Danek came across something that caught his attention – and quickened his heartbeat. Inside an ancient and crumbling manilla envelope was an even more ancient but neatly folded document: a short letter, handwritten in the German language. While Danek wasn’t proficient in German, the signatory’s name leapt out at him: Mozart.
As his hand began to tremble with excitement, Danek asked, could this really by a letter penned by Wolfgang Amadeus himself?
Without fully realising at that point what was in his hands, Danek had actually just found a unique solution to his borrowing requirements. Had he uploaded a copy of the letter to the website of peer-to-peer lender Unbolted, our expert valuation partners Lyon and Turnbull and Fellows, with their dedicated teams of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Maps specialists, would have spotted a detail almost certainly verifying the letter’s authenticity: a reference to one Nikolaus Joseph von Jaquin.
As it happens, von Jaquin was an eminent Austrian botanist and a very close friend of the genius composer. If Danek had the sent the letter to us via our next-day delivery couriers, our valuers would have been able to confirm the document’s authenticity. Such a rare document would be worth in the region of £150,000 at auction (one like it fetched $217,000 at auction in Boston last year).
This would be more than sufficient to act as security for one of Unbolted’s unique, low-interest secured asset loans. The p2p lender would keep the document in safe storage for the duration of the loan and have the money Danek was seeking released into his account within hours of the asset arriving at headquarters. His new business venture could begin immediately.
Unbolted's lending process involves no credit searches, no digital footprints indicative of credit rating and no problems if the borrower is unable to settle. We can on occasions extend the length of the loan, but the worst that can happen is that we recover the outstanding money by selling the asset at auction. We never report failure to settle to credit rating agencies. Ever.
Danek could have been you. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, check those possessions very carefully.