Richard III signed document tops estimate by 628.3%
The first Richard III signed document to appear for 40 years has sold for $168,900
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 13 June 2012
A document signed by Richard III (1452-1485) has sold for £109,250 ($168,900) at Christie's Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts sale in London today (June 13).
Written in the last months of his life before his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth, and signed with his "R.R" monogram, the letter sold for 628.3% above its £15,000 estimate.
It had last changed hands for $850 in May 1960, corresponding to a 10.7% pa increase.
The letter to the Warwickshire justices of the peace details a property dispute between a "pooer Subgiet Robert Dalby" and "oone Robert Worsley of Chepyngton".
No document signed by Richard while he was king has appeared at auction in the past 40 years. Such items are particularly scarce as Richard was king for just two years. Brother to Edward IV, it is almost impossible to buy royal signed documents that predate the siblings.
When centuries-old royal documents such as these contain content of global-significance, they reach a new level of importance.
We have just such a piece: This personal divorce plea was written by Henry VIII, requesting a special dispensation from Pope Julius II to marry Catherine of Aragon. When the plea went unanswered, Henry broke from the Catholic Church, establishing the Church of England and setting in motion a series of world-changing events.
Richard Westwood-Brookes, the historical documents expert at Mullock's Auctions in the UK, recently told us: "The British monarchy is always a good area for collectors and investors. Monarchs are the iconic representatives of their age and a document signed by any particular King or Queen can easily evoke all the events which happened during their reign."
The auction also featured a first edition of David Copperfield, signed by Charles Dickens in 1851, which sold for £61,250 ($97,500).
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