Gusmieri, Antonio di, Venetian merchant (fl. early 15th century). Autograph letter signed.

Alexandria, 19. I. 1421.

Folio (300 x 227 mm). 1 p. With integral address panel and endorsement in Italian "received 29 April 1421 by way of Haifa".


In Italian, to Lorenzo Dolfin, nephew and business partner of the late Venetian consul in Alexandria, Biagio Dolfin. Gusmieri was charged with settling Dolfin's affairs while he was absent from Alexandria and gives a detailed account of his receipts and expenses. The letter offers valuable clues to the life of Venetian merchants in Egypt, their business affairs, and common prices at the time. Most remarkably, Gusmieri sold a black slave called Rovego for 12 ducats and payed off a debt on a female black slave on Dolfin's behalf. With respect to kitchen equipment, he remarks that "it is hard to find anyone to buy it, but I have sold some for about 3 ducats. I shall do my best to sell the remainder of the things". Gusmieri also mentions the death of Sultan Shaykh al-Mahmudi (d. 13 January 1421) and the apparently peaceful transition of power to his infant son: "On the 15th of this month I learned from Cairo that the Sultan had died, and his son was made Sultan without any trouble". In closing, Gusmieri informs his friend that he will relocate to Damascus and therefore intends to allocate Dolfin's assets to the Venetian consul in Alexandria.

The watermark, a Gothic letter "R" with a Latin cross, is close to Briquet III, nos. 8924-8946: mostly Italian papers recorded from the late 14th to mid-15th centuries. With papered seal and traces of folds. A fairly large tear on the lower right edge (no loss to text).

Transcribed in full with English translation.

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