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Buy a 15th-Century Summons Signed by King Louis XI

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Louis XI
King Louis XI (Culture Club/Getty Images)

 

Banished from court by his father Charles VII for insubordination (i.e. trying and failing to launch a rebellion against him in 1440), Louis XI returned to France in 1461 to game the throne after his father’s death. Speaking of the other Game of Thrones, one of his nicknames was “The Universal Spider,” because he was known for spinning Varys-like webs of deceit and conspiracy against his enemies. (Louis XI was not a eunuch, though; his son succeeded him in 1483 after his death.)

Rest assured, there’s a reason for the French history lesson. The Edinburgh–based auction house of Lyon & Turnbull is set to sell an actual parchment signed by King Louis XI during its Aug. 31 “Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps, and Photography” sale. The document, dated January 18, 1462—just one year after he claimed the throne—is a summons, ordering his uncle, the Duke of Burgundy (Philip the Good) and others to appear before the parliament and answer to charges against them. (If you’re wondering about provenance for such an old document, it has been kept at the Appleby Castle Library in Westmorland, U.K.) A pre-auction estimate for the document puts it at a reasonable $4,000–$7,000.

To view the lot or register a bid, click here. Take a look at the document and Louis XI’s blown-up signature below.

Louis XI Document
(Courtesy of Lyon and Turnbull)
Louis XI Document
(Courtesy of Lyon and Turnbull)