VESPUCCI, ANTONIO. 1453-1515. Autograph Document Signed, 1 p, on vellum, oblong 8vo, [Florence], 1st January, 1514, matted and framed with engraved placard.
AN IMPORTANT VESPUCCI DOCUMENT composed in holograph and signed by Antonio Vespucci, brother of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci [1454-1512], after whom America is named. The document confirms the election to office and declares the privileges of several prominent men of Florence, and is signed by Antonio in his capacity as that city's official notary. Antonio witnesses at the bottom of the document as "I Antonio, son of the late Signor Anastasio, son of Signor Amerigo Vespucci, Chancellor," the Amerigo named here being Anastasio's grandfather after whom his brother the navigator was named.
The Vespuccis were a well regarded family in Florence, and one closely allied with the Medicis. It was while engaged as a merchant to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici in Spain that Amerigo began provisioning expeditions to the New World, shortly before he undertook several of his own. Amerigo's accounts of his travels became widely disseminated, and in 1507 the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller named the new continent on his world map America, in honor of Vespucci.
Antonio's son Giovanni is thought to have accompanied Amerigo on one or more of his voyages to the New World, and also served as Magellan's cartographer. He later became Amerigo's heir, and succeeded his uncle's title of "Piloto Mayor" (Grand Admiral) of Spain.