A Shakespearean Discovery: A Newly Discovered Real Life Document With Great Events Made Famous in Shakespeare’s Henry V

The Raab Collection announced today that it has acquired and will offer for sale a remarkable document that crosses the boundaries between history and Shakespearean fiction, relating to one of the most famous battles in European history and mentioning 3 figures during that battle referred to by the great bard. It is valued at $75,000.

Provenance: This document has been in the same provenance since the first half of the 20th century.  The heirs of the original owner sold it to The Raab Collection.

‘Once more unto the breach’

The document:

Once More Unto the Breach: The Messenger of Harfleur and Agincourt Brings Urgent Word to the French Crown of the Peril from the Forces of English King Henry V, During Events and With Figures Made Famous by Shakespeare

This incredible document mentions 3 figures who appear in Shakespeare’s work (Gaucourt, Guyenne and Charles I): commanders at Harfleur and at Agincourt.

There is no record of any document relating to Harfleur or Agincourt having reached the market, nor have we ever before seen a document directly relating to a person in one of Shakespeare’s plays. This has been in a private collection for a century.

This two line section mentions the siege of Harfleur and two Shakespearean characters

A remarkable medieval document, the first such historical relic we can recall on the market, describing action, peril, and danger at one of the most famous battles in Medieval History, mentioned by name

Document Signed, September 16, 1415, dated during one of the greatest standoffs in the history of warfare and the day before Henry sealed the fate of the French, signed by Robert le Vigneron, administrator to the French king, in French secretary script, describing the actions of the men mentioned in the document and their compensation from the French king for their defense of Harfleur.

The messenger is paid in “Salary and in compensation for many great efforts he has made, on behalf of the King, our Sire. As he has entered into great bodily danger and peril, at night, off coast of the sea, inside the town of Harfleur, having gotten out and having brought to Mr. le Connestable [Charles I, Sire d’Albret], Marshal Boursicoult in Rouen and from there to Vernon to Mr. Guyenne, letters from Mr. de Gaucourt, on behalf of the State, treating with the situation of those inside the said town and the provision that was necessary for their aid… and done so with great difficulty…. “

About Raab & The Hunt for History: In 2020 (hardcover) and 2021 (paperback), Scribner published Nathan’s fascinating book from the rarified world of historical document dealing – THE HUNT FOR HISTORY: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, Churchill, and Einstein to the Secret Recordings Onboard JFK’s Air Force One. In the book by Nathan, whom Library Journal has compared to the Indiana Jones of historical document hunting, Nathan shares amazing stories from the families and institutions who’ve called on him to authenticate rare and revelatory letters that will often fetch thousands and thousands of dollars. Among these stories: powerful letters of President Reagan to his daughter, pleading for family unity; the discovery of an early version of the JFK assassination tapes with 40 minutes of new information; Theodore Roosevelt’s letter home from Yellowstone to his young son, who would die in World War I.

Raab has worked with the families of many great historical figures on the treasures that have descended to them, including Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James K. Polk, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, Gerald Ford, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, senior leadership in the Civil War, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has worked to bring to the market many unpublished historical archives from all over the world.

More From the Newswire

Join Us

Stay informed about new historical documents, historical discoveries, and information for the educated collector.

Collect. Be Inspired.