Oxford University's Bodleian Library has received a collection of 83 first and early editions of Mozart's works.

They were accepted by the Government in lieu of death duties, and have been allocated to the library by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

The collection contains 43 first editions, including 25 that are not in any other UK collection, making it one of the most important collections of Mozart's printed scores in the world.

The rarities include the first edition of the C Major String Quartet, and the full vocal score of Mozart's last opera, The Magic Flute.

Peter Ward-Jones, who oversees the music section at the department of special collections and western manuscripts, said: "The Mozart editions represent a wonderful acquisition for the Bodleian.

"Such is the scarcity of these items, that it will never be possible to put such a collection together again."

There will be an exhibition of selected items in the Bodleian's Exhibition Room throughout December.

The collection belonged to the music antiquarian dealer Albi Rosenthal, who died in 2004, and was the result of a lifelong love of the composer's works.

Many of the items had featured in a loan exhibition held at the Bodleian in 1991, on the bicentenary of Mozart's death.

Mr Rosenthal, who was a member of the council of the Friends of the Bodleian, had expressed a wish for the collection to come to the library.

Other highlights of the collection include a copy of early violin sonatas, published by the eight-year-old composer in London in 1765, and inscribed by the purchaser "bought of the author".

There is also a set of parts of the Haydn' string quartets, published in Vienna in 1785 and still in contemporary bindings, and a first edition of the vocal score of Die Zauberflte, issued in separate numbers beginning in November 1791, just a month before Mozart's death.