Lot 266

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King Ferdinand V of Spain
Peñafiel, Spain, July 23, 1492
Ferdinand & Isabella of Castile 1492 MDS Days Before Columbus Expedition, JSA & BAS Authenticated
A manuscript document signed by both King Ferdinand II of Aragon as "Yo el Rey" [I the King] and Queen Isabella I of Castile as "Yo la Renya" [I the Queen], with attestation of the royal scribe Fernando Alvares at lower right. 1p, untranslated in Spanish, measuring 8.5" x 6", Peñafiel [Spain], dated in the magic year July 25, 1492. Previously sold for over $11,000 in the November 26, 2013 Swann Auction, Lot 58 where the date is attributed to 1492. We have no reason to doubt this but for accuracy, this will be sold with this as an attribution only. Only a few such documents with the important year exist. We sold one many years ago for well over $20,000. The document, dated just nine days before Christopher Columbus departed Spain on his first voyage, transfers the ownership of a tract of land to Francisco de Tovar. Exhibits areas of scattered soiling, flattened creasing, and toning present at folds; remnants of prior mounting along bottom edge of verso. Docketing present in multiple hands. Else, near fine. Encapsulated and certified authentic by Beckett to the overall size of 8.75" x 12", and accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from JSA.

Known together as the Catholic Monarchs, the 1469 union between Queen Isabella I of Castile (1474-1504) and King Ferdinand II of Aragon (1479-1516) would mark Spain's de facto unification. As King and Queen, their actions brought about the completion of the Reconquista, the creation of the Alhambra Decree, which ordered the mass expulsion of Jews from Spain thus initiating the Spanish Inquisition, the financing of Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage and, subsequently, the establishment of the Spanish empire.

On April 14, 1492, the Capitulations of Santa Fe between Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs was signed. This gave the explorer the title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, as well as a portion of all riches obtained during the voyage. Queen Isabella played a particularly important role in enacting the Capitulations when, following the rejection of Columbus' initial proposal, she called another assembly made up of sailors, philosophers, and astrologers tasked with reexamining the project. Indeed, since Isabella had provided the funding and authorization, the voyage's benefits would ultimately be accrued to the Kingdom of Castile. Later, on the evening of August 3rd, Columbus departed Spain with a fleet of three ships- the Niña , the Pinta , and the Santa María.

This period of exploration would also coincide with a period of harsh religious persecution in the aftermath of the Grenada War (1482-1492), which saw a Spanish victory over Islamic rule in the Iberian peninsula and subsequent end to their policy of religious freedom. This had an immediate effect on the peninsula's Jewish population when, on March 31, 1492, the Catholic Monarchs issued the Alhambra Decree. This ordered the forced expulsion of practicing Jews from the Crowns of Castile and Aragon by July 31st that same year, leaving only four months to find the means for emigrating elsewhere. Many fled to areas of North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and Portugal, but were often met with further challenges and persecution. For Spain's remaining Muslim inhabitants, the original 1491 Treaty of Grenada was supposed to guarantee their religious freedom, by 1501 they too were required to convert to Christianity or face the possibility of exile and in some cases, enslavement. 

This lot comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


  • Dimensions:
  • 8.75" x 12"
  • Artist Name:
  • King Ferdinand V of Spain
  • Medium:
  • MDS

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000