Browsing around the stalls at the mercado de San Telmo reveals some enchanting relics buried amidst an exhausting range of junk. On Saturday we came away with a set of old music scores, partituras. Not unexpectedly in Buenos Aires, much of the sheet music is tango though an occasional opera score is intermixed with the tango.

Never having learned to play any instruments, we’re more interested in the cover art rather than the actual sheet music. Some of the graphic design is really very good. The archivist in me wants to hope that somewhere there is a collection preserving all this stuff. These images didn’t come out very good since the sheet music covers are too large for our scanner, so these are just a few poorly done snapshots.

Depending upon the vendor, you might pay 25 pesos and up for one of these scores from the 1920s.

But if you search around some of the junkier booths, you can find some for only 5 pesos.

The typography is outstanding. I’m sure these can be found at a lot of places around Buenos Aires and not just the mercado de San Telmo. That’s just the closes place to where I live.

So, if you’re stuck for ideas about a unique gift or memento of your trip to Buenos Aires, then consider old tango sheet music….suitable for framing.