Charles II 'wanted poster' sold for $52,000 to resident of Boscobel, UK

Britain's royal family is at a high point of its historical popularity. It is of course Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year, and her two grandsons Prince William and Harry (not to mention Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton) are rarely out of the papers with generally very favourable coverage.

But things were not always this way, and an item has just sold reminding us of a historical low - a point at which if things had taken a slightly different turn today's situation would look very different.

A Shropshire auctioneer offered a wanted poster - a proclamation, no less - for the capture of a man who would be king.

In January 30, 1649, Charles I of England was executed by order of Parliament. His son Charles set about trying to raise an army, but in 1651 was defeated at the battle of Worcester and at one point had to hide in an oak tree in Boscobel, Shropshire.

It was from this time that the document offered was issued: a Parliamentary proclamation offering a reward of £1,000 for the capture of "the discovery and apprehending of Charles Stuart and other traitors, his adherents and abettors".

Charles II Stuart wanted
Charles II (Stuart) wanted poster/proclamation

The sum of £1,000 would be worth roughly £75,000 today - a tempting sum for many if they had happened to spot the prince in his arboreal bungalow.

As it was, he survived and a decade later was crowned Charles II - though he dated the start of his reign to the time of his father's death.

The auctioneer had offered the document with a listed price of just £750-1,000, but furious bidding forced it all the way to final staggering price of £33,000. The new owner is believed to be from Boscobel, which probably isn't a coincidence.

Collectors on the look-out for Royal historical documents should take a lot at our collectibles for sale pages. One which certainly marks a turning point in history is Henry VIII's personal divorce plea.

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