A rare accounting document, half-concealed beneath a coat of arms design, has revealed the activities of Italian bankers working in early 15th century London, decades before the capital became a financial powerhouse. The discovery was made by economic historians at Queen Mary, University of London.

Among the pages of a bound collection of traditional English crests held at the London College of Arms -- the headquarters of British heraldry -- are several papers belonging to a book of debtors and creditors for Florentine merchant-banking company, Domenicio Villani & Partners.

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