Your fiftieth birthday affords an occasion for me to tell you what I always want to keep on saying: in what high regard I hold you. and how I cannot help remembering, with much distress that in earlier days I so annoyed you by being at variance with you. I feel I was wrong to try to thrust my opinions on you instead of listening when you talked and letting myself be enriched by what is more important than opinions: the resonance of a great personality.
He signs the letter, With affectionate veneration and devotion.
Now I have been at this game a long time and have dealt with items at every end of the price spectrum and had never received a response like that. So I responded as follows,
A very detailed account of the piece and the Schoenberg Family's attempt to discuss the piece and meet with Mr. Fraser can be found on the composer's Grandson, Randol Schoenberg's blog.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no statute of limitations on stolen property anywhere in the Country. As a casual acquaintance, there is no probability the composer would have given this prize possession to Joseph Schmidt. The family knew the piece was there after the death of Schoenberg and his widow Gertrud would not have given her husband's prize souvenir of his relationship with Mahler to a man who had a cursory relationship with the family. Further Mr. Schmidt lived in New York during the time between the composer and his widows death. Dan Wakin published a statement by Mr. Fraser's Father that he had never seen the photograph before. I know music autograph collectors. They are very proud of their holdings and prominently display their most important pieces and love discussing them with anyone who might take an interest. Surely, a Father would have shared something of this importance with his son growing up. If Mr. Fraser's Grandfather did not display this piece in his home, or studio, the hiding of the photograph speaks louder than words. There is a reason it was found coated with dust behind a boiler in the basement. Mr. Fraser's Father went on to say that if he could, he would return the piece to the Schoenberg's. It is now up to Mr. Fraser to do the right thing and give the photograph back to the Schoenberg Family, so it can be placed in the Schoenberg Center for the World to see.