For the history buff and autograph collector, an opportunity to acquire a nicely presented 1926 Italian document bearing the bold signatures of both King Vittorio Emanuele III (1869-1947) and Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), the infamous Italian dictator known as "Il Duce". The document, entirely in Italian, appears to deal with perfunctory details of an appointment, perhaps a 1920's military appointment of one Baldassare Francesco. This sheet, with the signatures at the bottom right, is framed nicely with oval images of Mussolini at top right and Vittorio Emanuele at bottom right. The work as framed measures 23" by 24". Mussolini of course figures prominently in the history of Italy between the wars and during World War II. He became its fascist leader in 1922 and received the title "Il Duce" in 1925, just before this document was signed. Mussolini presided over a dark period in Italian history, when he sided with Hitler and Nazi Germany in June 1940. Ultimately as Allied advances worked northwards to the ever-smaller territory he was still holding, he found himself in strategically and politically difficult circumstances, and in April 1945 just days before the death of Adolf Hitler, he was executed, his body hung from girders in Milano with his mistress Claretta Petacci, and other fascists. The internet describes in detail his rise and fall, and the controversy surrounding the circumstances of his death. Vittorio Emanuele was known as "Il Rey Soldato" (the Soldier King) for leading his country in two world wars. He was king from 1900 to 1946. Quite diminutive at five feet in height, he remains an important figure in Italian 20th century history. The king was known as one of the major rare coin collectors of all time. Vittorio Emanuele died in Egypt in 1947 and only in 2017 was his body returned to Italy for interment, by the Italian military. The above summary is a very brief outline of a very complicated situation; the history buff can read voluminous material about both of these figures---and can touch history, while gazing at these signatures.
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