Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was France’s last queen. As the wife of French king Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette’s lavish lifestyle made her a focus for resentment among France’s poorer classes and she was executed during the French revolution. Also remembered today for her sense of fashion and great beauty, she is perhaps best known for a phrase she never uttered: “Let them eat cake”.
The document is a pay order in French, signed superbly by Marie Antoinette: “Payez, Marie Antoinette.” The queen’s black ink signature is incredibly bold and crisp.
With these three words Marie Antoinette instructs treasurer Marc-Antoine-Francois-Marie Randon de la Tour to pay a money order of 500 livres for food – around $3,500 today. The fact the document discusses money – and lots of it – is an attractive point for the collector, as Marie Antoinette was renowned for her lavish lifestyle. That it mentions food is a further appealing feature, as it brings to mind the phrase wrongly attached to Marie Antoinette: “Let them eat cake”.
Signed in December 1786, just two-and-a-half years before the start of the French Revolution, and just seven years before Marie Antoinette was executed. History in action.
The 9.5 x 14.25 inch document was created in Versailles, the lavish royal palace outside Paris that became such a focus of resentment among the lower French classes.
The document also bears the signature from Marie Antoinette’s secretary along the right.
Marie Antoinette signed documents are incredibly rare, especially ones featuring such a stunning signature. The paper itself is in superb condition considering its age of more than 230 years.
Comes with a full letter of authenticity from the previous owner.
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