A letter from Catherine of Aragon pleading for help to preserve her marriage to England's King Henry VIII will be offered at auction in New York in December, Sotheby's said Tuesday.
The letter is part of an extraordinary batch of 31 documents owned by a collector whose identity was not disclosed. Also up for auction is a handwritten document by Michelangelo Buonarroti in reference to an important commission for a church in Rome, and items from Beethoven, Chopin, Napoleon and Stalin, the auctioneer said.
Catherine, the first of Henry's six wives, wrote to her nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, asking him to use his influence to persuade Pope Clement VII to resist Henry's attempts to invalidate the marriage. The letter is dated Feb. 8, 1534.
Clement's rebuff of Henry led the monarch to reject papal authority, leading to the creation of the Church of England.
The letter has not been seen in public since it was sold at auction in New York in 1987 for US$38,000. Sotheby's estimated the price at the coming sale at US$100,000 or more.
The sale is set for Dec. 11.