Description

    A Rare Signature of the Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro

    Francisco Pizarro Signature on a 3.75" x 2.75" piece of paper excised from a larger sheet. Below the signatures is written, "Jauja - 1534," which was likely written in the nineteenth century from information obtained from the full document (Pizarro set Jauja as the provisional capital of Peru in April 1534). According to spectrographic analysis, the ink of the Pizarro's signature and "Jauja - 1534" differs. The paper, though, is identified as the type used in sixteenth-century Peru. Included with the signature for comparison is an unrelated 1574 Peruvian manuscript on laid paper. (This document grants the power of attorney to sell slaves.) Even though Pizarro's signature is not on laid paper, the papers from the two sheets are similarly composed of linen rag and hemp fiber, as revealed in spectrographic analysis. (At least one other example of Pizarro's signature, which sold at Christie's in 2007 for $97,500, is not on laid paper). The Spanish conquistador could neither read nor write, so he wasn't able to sign his name; instead, he made a rubric that he used as his signature (the earliest example of his rubric is dated 1522). Often, though not in this case, a secretary would write Pizarro's name near his rubric. Pizarro's signature, or rubric, is rare - we have found only three other examples of his signature that have been offered at auction in the last century.

    This item comes from the collection of Elizabeth Coombs Adams, the granddaughter of John Adams (the daughter of John Adams' youngest son, Thomas). Ms. Adams, who lived her entire life in Quincy, Massachusetts, was a collector of historical documents (see lot 34092 for other documents from her collection). She had a special interest in preserving the Adams' family history in documents, which she did until her death in 1903 at the age of ninety-five. Ms. Adams never married, and at the time of her death her papers were given to her cousin Caroline Harrod Bartlett. Ms. Adams' papers have been passed down through multiple generations of the Bartlett family and are being offered here at auction for the first time.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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