POPE ALEXANDER VIII
Pope Alexander VIII, Pope Clement XI
Vellum Breve Signed by Future Pope Clement XI - 1690
Vellum breve dated 30 January 1690 signed by Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani ("G.F. Albanus," the future Pope Clement XI, on lower right of recto), as cardinal secretary of state during the papacy of Pope Alexander VIII. Particularly rare in light of Alexander's very short tenure—just 16 months, from October 1689 to his death in February 1691. In very fine condition, measuring 12" x 5."
Though an able diplomat, Alexander VIII achieved little of importance during his brief pontificate, aside from managing to destroy most of his predecessor's good work. All the money saved by Innocent XI was spent on enriching Alexander's own family.
The signer, then Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani (1649-1721), was Pope Clement XI from November 1700 to his death in 1721. Clement XI was a patron of the arts and of science. He was also a great benefactor of the Vatican Library, and his interest in archaeology is credited with saving much of Rome's antiquity. He authorized expeditions which succeeded in rediscovering various ancient Christian writings, and authorized excavations of the Roman catacombs.
[Image for reference only; not included]