Today, November 17, in 1558, Queen Mary I succumbed to her long-standing ailments and died, starting the road to her half-sister Elizabeth coming to the throne.
There had been little love lost between the two, Elizabeth being the Protestant daughter of Anne Boleyn and Mary a staunch Catholic who executed Protestants who would not convert and the daughter of Catherine of Aragon, whom Anne displaced.
(Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine which involved the split from Catholicism is one of the great turning points of British history, which is why we're so proud to own Henry VIII's personal divorce plea.)
The Elizabethan Age remains a period of historical significance for history buffs and collectors alike. After the short, religiously hardline reigns of her half-siblings Edward VI and Mary I, Elizabeth's tolerant reign of 44 years provided stability.
Playwrights led by William Shakespeare established a standard in drama by which all others are judged, and the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Sir Francis Drake captured the character of the time, as well providing a decisive defeat to the great threat of the Spanish Armada.
Elizabeth and Drake's autographs are both extremely valuable, (Shakespeare's is more or less unattainable) and the apparent re-discovery of Drake's resting place caused great excitement recently in the media.
Many varieties of collectibles associated with Elizabeth personally are valuable, however. Whether it's a well struck gold coin from her reign, a portrait miniature or a portrait from which a hidden snake emerges, there's far more interest or excitement than you would see for those who came immediately before or after her.
Extraordinary document signed by Elizabeth I complete with her seal
(Click for more details)
For this reason, we're particularly excited to be in possession of an incredibly rare piece of historically signifcant memorabilia from Good Queen Bess's reign: a signed document together with Elizabeth I's great seal.
We're so confident of its continuing value that we are offering it with our unique 120% guarantee - a useful financial certainty in uncertain times.