Seal of Approval

This book is not all handwritten text and scribbles. Some pages have stamped seals, embossed seals, and printed headers on them. Yet out of the many documents in this book only about five of them have these seals and official printed headers on them. Why is that? One possible explanation could be King Philip IV of Spain’s proclamation requiring stamped paper in the Spanish American colonies in 1638. Some of these documents predate this decree, yet many of the documents that lack seals and headers were created after 1638. Are some of these documents simply more important than the others? Did some require authentication while others did not?

(click on images above to get a closer look at these seals)

We also have many questions about the seals themselves. We are fairly certain that all of these documents were created in Colonial Mexico making these seals Spanish seals. We also know the dates that all of these seals were stamped since the years are conveniently located next to or in the seals. But what is the meaning behind each of these seals? Do they each represent a different district or parish in Mexico? Can the type of stamp on the document tell us about what type of document it is?