Skip to comments.Magna Carta copy sold for £10.6m[$21.3M]
Posted on 12/19/2007 5:55:13 AM PST by BGHater
A rare copy of the Magna Carta has been sold for £10.6m ($21.3m) in an auction at Sotheby's in New York.
The copy dating from 1297, one of only 17 still in existence, was bought by US businessman David Rubenstein.
The auction item had been owned by American billionaire Ross Perot's Perot Foundation since 1984 and was on view at the National Archives in Washington.
The original Magna Carta was sealed by King John of England in 1215 and enshrined civil rights in English law.
Mr Rubenstein, co-founder of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, wants to put the document back on display at the National Archives.
He said: "I have always believed that the three most important documents were the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta.
"This document stands the test of time. There is nothing more important than what it represents.
"I am privileged to be the new owner, but I am only the temporary custodian.
"This is a gift to the American people. It is important to me that it stays in the United States."
'Talisman of liberty'
The auctioned copy, the only one in private hands, had been expected to fetch £9.94m ($20m) when it went under the hammer.
The Magna Carta was not confirmed as English law until the version sealed by Edward I in 1297.
David Redden, vice-chairman of Sotheby's, described the Magna Carta as "the most important document in the world".
"The 1297 Magna Carta became the operative version, the one that was entered into English common law and became the law of the land," he said.
"The Magna Carta is the first rung on the ladder to freedom. This document symbolises mankind's eternal quest for freedom.
"It is a talisman of liberty."
The Magna Carta came into being as the result of a dispute between King John and English barons, and it went some way towards limiting the authority of the king.
The charter guaranteed basic freedoms and property rights to those considered "free men".
Its most notable legacy in present-day English law is the principle of Habeas Corpus, which protects people against unlawful imprisonment.
Only four copies dating to the 1215 signing of the Magna Carta are believed to have survived, and all of them are in England.
The 1297 engrossment of the Magna Carta auctioned at Sotheby's in New York
I remember reading this some years ago in school. It is portrayed as the forerunner to our constitution, but most of it is laying out protections for the nobles — not ordinary people. I can see how it was a step towards what we have today, but it was a very small step.
One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.
Our old buddy Ross Perot was hoping to get $30 mil. Anyone remember what he paid for it??
It's a good thing Sandy Berger didn't put it in his pants and accidentally shred it.
"Perot Foundation purchased the manuscript in 1984 for $1.5 million and loaned it to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where it had been on exhibit until earlier this year."
Odd though that the authors get the history so wrong. This is the 1297 Magna Carta or Confirmatio Cartarum of Edward I issued by Parliament. Not the original Magna Carta of 1215 issued by King John.
Interesting. So, all the costs since 1984 would have been paid by us taxpayers - exhibiting - maintaining temp/humidity, security, insurance, transport, and personnel salaries - guards and the like. And, perhaps that is somehow transferable to the Perot Foundation to deduct from the gain?
Thanks I did not know about that point of the story. A pretty important aspect.
That is the text of the 1215 MC.
is the text of the 1297.
"Odd though that the authors get the history so wrong. This is the 1297 Magna Carta or Confirmatio Cartarum of Edward I issued by Parliament. Not the original Magna Carta of 1215 issued by King John."
I can use the interweb miself.
Like your tagline, Would like to see Ramos and Compean released.
Still crossing my fingers they will be released before Christmas.
11. And if anyone die indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if any children of the deceased are left under age, necessaries shall be provided for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased; and out of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service due to feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts due to others than Jews.
OK ... Then I’ll profer the kind word ... Have a merry Christmas.
Not as much as I expected it’d sell for. I’m glad to see the Carlyle Group is going to allow it to go back on display.
I've got the text of the Magna Carta on my website. One way to look at it, is that it is a list of kingly "shall nots". Prior to the Magna Carta the king could do just about anything he wanted and wasn't restrained by anything but his own personal restraints. After, it was generally accepted that the law applied to the king, as well as his subjects. That's really a major shift in thinking.