An incredibly rare document signed by Richard III of England is set to be auctioned, and it's expected to fetch up to $125,000.
The document, which dates to about 1473 and is signed "R. Gloucestre," is a record of Richard, then Duke of Gloucestershire, intervening in a dispute between a landowner and his tenants.
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This image provided by Nate D. Sanders Auctions shows a document signed by Richard III. The document is dated circa 1473. See more at Nate D. Sanders Auctions.
This image provided by Nate D. Sanders Auctions shows the back of a document signed by Richard III. The document is dated circa 1473. See more at Nate D. Sanders Auctions.
Although only in his early 20s, Richard assumed control of the powerful Council of the North as Lord President in 1472. According to Nate D. Sanders Auctions, the document is a record of the young noble asserting his power.
Richard III, England's last Plantagenet monarch, ruled England between 1483 and 1485 and became the last English king to die in battle. Even though his brief reign saw liberal reforms, including the lifting of restrictions on books and printing presses, Richard III was vilified after his death by his successors, the Tudors.
"It was of great importance to the Tudor dynasty that this man was a villain," medieval art historian Dr. Pamela Tudor-Craig told the UK's Channel 4. "It was essential, otherwise there was no reason for Henry [the Tudor king] to be on the throne."
The historical artifact is one of only three documents signed by Richard III to be auctioned in the last 30 years. At time of writing, it had already attracted bids of more than $10,000. Bidding ends April 2.
The auction comes in the wake of a major discovery in February, in which archeologists confirmed "beyond a reasonable doubt" that a skeleton unearthed in a parking lot in Leicester belonged to Richard III.
Interest in Richard III has helped drive demand for other auctioned artifacts.
In December 2012, a gold coin bearing the personal emblem of Richard III sold at auction for £36,000 (about $58,000 at the time) -- three times the estimated amount. At the time of that auction, the identity of the remains had yet to be confirmed.
Auction prices aren't the only indicators of renewed interest in the deceased monarch. Using forensic technology, researchers at Scotland's University of Dundee were able to create a bust of Richard III that differed slightly from portraits of the king.