Hernan Cortes signed letter offered at Heritage

Hernan Cortes is most famous as the man that brought down the mighty Aztec Empire.

In 1519 he led his army of Spanish conquistadors on an expedition across South America.

 Hernan Cortes letter

Hernan Cortes led the conquest of the Aztec Empire 

While they numbered just 500 men, they were viewed by the Aztecs as gods and so experienced little resistance.

The Spanish took Central America for their own.

Heritage Auctions is offering an extremely rare specimen of Cortes’ signature in its May 11 Manuscripts Grand Format Auction.  

The lot is believed to date to around the 1530s and was sent from the city of Cuernavaca in central Mexico (where Cortes maintained an estate).

It concerns a debt and reads: "Pariente señor / Juan Carreño has written to me that he owed your nephew Molina twenty two pesos de minas and was jailed until he was bailed out by his creditor Vicente."

The letter last sold for $20,000 at Sotheby’s in 1978.

It’s offered here with an opening bid of $25,000.

There’s an eclectic range of other pieces in the sale, including an archive of materials relating to architect Frank Lloyd-Wright’s construction of the James Bryant Christie house in 1940-1941.

It includes blueprints, photographs and correspondence between Christie and Wright.

The house was an example of Wright’s Usonian architecture. He produced these homes for families on a much lower budget than his ordinary commissions.  

In this case, Christie was charged $10,000 for planning, materials and construction. That’s around $173,000 today.

Usonian homes now sell for well over $1m.

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