Lot #245
Papal History

Huge archive including over 100 papal documents—spanning seven centuries of the Roman Catholic church
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Estimate: $0+


Huge archive including over 100 papal documents—spanning seven centuries of the Roman Catholic church

An amazing collection of over 400 letters, documents, and other various formats, spanning a remarkable seven centuries of church history, more than 100 of which are signed by popes. Supplementing the papal items is an enormous amount of material from cardinals, influential clergymen, and important church dignitaries. Of pieces signed by popes, the vast majority are letters and documents, plus a handful of signed photos from more recent pontiffs and a smattering of additional formats. Approximately 40% of these are signed as pope, with the other 60% signed as cardinal, bishop, or using their civilian names. Popes represented in this collection, as well as the quantity of items signed by them, include the following: Clement XI (1), Pius VI (1), Pius VII (7), Leo XII (4), Pius VIII (1), Gregory XVI (3), Pius IX (23), Leo XIII (5), Pius X (9), Benedict XV (3), Pius XI (10), Pius XII (23), Paul VI (16), and John Paul II (2). A more detailed breakdown of this group is available here. In overall very good to fine condition.

Highlights include: a rare manuscript DS issued (but not signed) by Pope Innocent XII, nominating Antonio Sonzini de Brescia as notary of the Apostolic See, signed by the future Pope Clement XI as cardinal, "J. f. Card. Albani," one page, May 4, 1698; a scarce and boldly penned ALS in Italian by the future Pope Pius VII signed as cardinal, “G. Card. Chiaramonti,” one page, 7.25 x 10.75, December 18, 1793; and two identical 4 x 6.5 cardstock pre-papacy photos of John Paul II, each signed on the reverse as cardinal.

Among the additional pieces are letters and documents signed by Giuseppe Bizzarri, Flavio Chigi III, Nicola Garelli-Paracciani, Otto de Grandson, Gustav Hohenlohe-Schillingfurst, Franz Christoph Reichsfreiherr Hutten zum Stolzenberg, Tommaso Maria Martinelli, Philipp of Bavaria, Jean-Baptiste-Francois Pitra, Pietro Silvestri, Giuseppe Luigi Trevisanato, and Luigi Vannicelli Casoni. The earliest significant document is the Otto de Grandson, which dates to 1307; he was a medieval Savoyard knight who represented England at the Papal Curia from 1307 to 1317, and was also responsible for founding a Franciscan friary in 1289 and a Carthusian monastery at La Lance in 1317. The majority of the collection dates to the 18th and 19th centuries, but it is a truly robust and diverse collection that would be practically impossible to assemble piecemeal today.

Detail on Popes:

Clement XI (DS signed as cardinal dated May 4, 1698);

Pius VI (LS concerning the papal chancery dated 1778);

Pius VII (7, including two ALSs as cardinal dated 1793 and 1794; an LS as cardinal dated 1796; an ALS dated 1808; an LS dated 1816; an endorsement dated 1817; and an undated clipped signature as pope);

Leo XII (4, including an ALS as nuncio dated 1795; an ALS as papal legate dated 1795; a papal bull dated 1825; and a breve DS dated 1827);

Pius VIII (ALS as bishop of Montalto dated 1804);

Gregory XVI (3, including an LS dated 1829; a brief ADS dated 1831; and an LS dated 1844);

Pius IX (23, including two ALSs as archbishop dated 1832 and 1833; an LS as cardinal dated 1843; four ALSs dated 1844, 1845 (2), and 1864; six ANSs dated 1846, 1848, 1849, 1857 (2), and 1863; six LSs dated 1856, 1868, 1871, and 1873 (3); a signed photo dated 1870; a breve DS dated 1874; a papal bull dated 1874; and a photo bearing a handwritten dedication, circa 1888;

Leo XIII (5, including two LSs as bishop dated 1864 and 1868; an LS as cardinal dated 1868; an LS dated 1893; and an undated ADS as pope);

Pius X (9, including an ALS signed using his given name, dated 1883; an ALS signed as bishop of Mantua, dated 1893; six ALSs as cardinal dated 1897, 1899, 1900, 1902, and 1903 (2); and two ALSs dated 1908 and 1910;

Benedict XV (3, including a handwritten blessing dated 1914; a DS dated 1915; and a signature dated 1916 affixed to an oversized portrait);

Pius XI (10, including seven ALSs signed using his given name dated 1907 (2), 1908, 1915, 1918, and two undated; a DS signed with his given name dated 1913; an ALS as archbishop dated 1921; and an LS dated 1923);

Pius XII (23, including four ALSs dated 1921, 1922 (2), and 1928; TLS as diplomatic nuncio dated 1925; undated signature as diplomatic nuncio; ten TLSs as cardinal dated 1930 (2), 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 (3), and 1936 (2); and seven LSs dated 1942, 1943, 1946, 1948, 1950 (2), and 1954);

Paul VI (16, including an undated clipped signature using his given name; nine TLSs signed with his given name dated 1942, 1943, 1948 (3), 1949, 1951 (2), and 1952; a signed photo dated 1948; three TLSs signed using his title as archbishop of Milan dated 1954, 1955, and 1963; an undated visiting card featuring his portrait signed as archbishop; and a 1960 Easter card signed as cardinal);

John Paul II (2 cardstock photos signed on the reverse as cardinal). RR Auction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Rare Manuscript, Document & Autograph
  • Dates: #439 - Ended October 15, 2014