VILLA LA BATTAGLIA. Promissory note of 1000 Gold-Scudi. handwritten. Folds, a little staining and a small hole. 4-page document. Upper right corner missing, affecting the last few words of the first 3 lines. Handwritten Italian text by Antonio Guiducci and personally signed by his boss, Lodovico de Medici, also known asGiovanni dalleBandeNere. The text represents a promissory note by which Lodovico de Medici promises to pay the Milan bankers Neri and Pier Francesco del Benino the sum of 1000 Gold Scudi. Issued at the Villa La Battaglia (near Padua, Venice). At the end of the text, we find the large, unspoiled, signature of Lodovico de Medici (1498-1526). On the inside pages, the note is signed by 2 witnesses, LucantonioCuppano and Luigi Vechietta. The importance of this document is double: a) it must be one of the oldest surviving promissory notes in Europe and can be seen as an important predecessor to bonds and banknotes as we know them today ; b) it is issued and signed by Lodovico de Medici (1498-1526). He was the son of Giovanni de Medici (Il Popolano) and Caterina Sforza (of the noble Sforza family, rulers of Milan). Lodovico became a renowned condottierro (or mercenary military captain) in the employ of Pope Leo X (=Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici). When Leo X allied with Emperor Charles V against the French King François I, he defeated the French at Vapriod'Adda in 1521. After the death of Leo X, Giovanni added black stripes to his insigna, hence comes his nick-name, Giovanni dalleBandeNere. In 1524 he defeated the French and Swiss armies atCaprino Bergamasco. The new Pope Clement VII (another Medici family member) paid all of Giovanni's debt, but in exchange ordered him to switch to the French side. In 1526 the War of the League of Cognac broke out with Charles V of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire fighting against France, the Pope, England and several Italian States. Giovanni defeated the Landsknechts at the Po River. In November 1626 he was shot in his leg from a falconet with amputation as a result. He died five days later of septicemia. The death of, according to historians, the most famous of Italian condotierriment also the end of such mode of fighting (armored knights on horseback) as guns and cannons rapidly replaced the traditonal swords. Hence, he is remembered in literature as The Last Condottieri. His statue can be seen at the famous Uffizi museum in Florence. His son, Cosimo I de Medici became the first and powerful Grand Duke of Tuscany. His offspring would continue to rule Florence for another 200 years. Hisgreat-granddaughter became Queen of France and his great-great granddaughter was Queen of England. This is the only scripophily we have ever seen from de Medici family, from the late 14th until the mid 18th century, they started as bankers, quickly grew to become the wealthiest family in Europe, and ended as royalty and popes. This lot certainly rates amongst the very best scripophily has to offer.
Themes: BANK & FINANCE, BEFORE 1800, CITY & STATE BONDS
DE MEDICI, Lodovico
Date: 16 June 1525
Startprice: € 20000