PIZARRO, Francisco (1475-1541), Marqués, Conquistador of Peru. Document signed ("Fra.o Piçarro," with rubric signature), as governor of New Castille, Una carta de poder (power of attorney), Los Reyes, (Lima), 6 November 1536. 2 pages, folio, executed in two different clerical hands, countersigned by another official to the right of Pizarro's signature, frayed along edges, top left corner of recto discolored, age-toned.
A power of attorney from Pizarro to his steward ("camerero") Pedro de Villareal, to manage and conduct all his lawsuits and financial affairs, present and future, and to recover any debts owing to him including pearls, precious stones, as well as Negro and Indian servants ("...pesos de oro plata, joyas, perlas piedras, e ciervos negros y indios..."). A document from the height of Pizarro's reign as governor of New Castille, created one year after his elevation to marquis by King Carlos V, in recognition of his conquest of the Incas and the creation of the outpost at Los Reyes (Lima). Pizarro's career was notable for his failure to ever attain full literacy. "Pizarro," writes historian J. Lockhart, "in his whole life never learned to sign his name, but by the early 1520's he began to make a rubric, and all known documents issued by him until his death contain that rubric." (Lockhart, Men of Cajamarca, p. 72). Here he writes "Piçarro," with a cedilla, and adds his usual, highly distinctive rubric flourish on either side of his signature. The watermark (hand with flower above) and the composition of the paper (linen rag and hemp fiber) identify it as the type of paper commonly used for drawing up legal documents in the period 1524-1529, and Pizarro most likely carried it with him to America from Spain. (Copy of expert report of micrscopic and spectroscopic examinations included.)
DOCUMENTS BEARING PIZARRO'S SIGNATURE ARE EXTREMELY RARE. Apart from the present, only two others have appeared at auction in this century: a 1536 power of attorney signed by Pizarro as witness (Christie's, New York, 18 May 1984, lot 51, $12,000) and a 1539 power of attorney granted by Pizarro (offered in 1952, 1969, 1983, and most recently at Christie's New York, 21 April 1997, lot 95, $50,000).