Originally Signed Copy of Magna Carta on Sale

Only two copies of the Magna Carta exist outside Great Britain. One is in Australia and one is in New York. Southby's is auctioning off the New York copy.

In the year 1215, a group of English barons handed King John a document written on parchment. Put your royal seal on this, they said. John did, and forever changed the relationship between the monarchy and those it governed. The document was the Magna Carta, a declaration of human rights that would set some of the guiding principles for democracy as it is known today.

While that original edict was initially ignored and John died the next year, its key ideas were included in other variations over the next few decades, most notably the right of Habeas Corpus, which protects citizens against unlawful imprisonment. More than 800 years later, about 17 copies survive, and one of those, signed by King Edward I in 1297, will go up for sale Dec. 18 at Sotheby's.

Lindsay at Majikthise would really like the New York copy, which is expected to rake in $20 to $30 million. That probably won't happen, but we can all settle for reading it here.

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    And The Winner Is (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 20, 2007 at 06:51:23 PM EST
    David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group bought it. Ironic if you ask  me.

    Ironically Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein is scheduled to spend Human Rights Day in the UAE, where he is a scheduled speaker at the SuperReturn Middle East conference in Dubai.

    I hope.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 12:24:59 PM EST
    whoever buys it puts in a museum, and not locked away in a safe.

    Such a beautiful and historic artifact should be available for all to admire.

    Have you ever gone to an art exhibition (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 01:41:11 PM EST
    containing masterpieces you not only have never seen, but never even seen a photo of?  Lots of time the particular painting is a loan from an unidentified private collector.  Ticks me off.  So I agree with you.  Yes, I know the U.S. is founded on private property rights.

    of Leonardo da Vinci. He created a display and loaned the display to a museum here in LA a few years ago, I assume he loaned(s) it to other museums as well.

    Anyway, the writings are in Italian, old Italian actually, and often written in mirror image, iirc.

    Gate's display showed the docs under glass, and then had computers that allowed you to click through displays of each the pages in mirror-old Italian and then translations to old Italian, Italian, English, Spanish, etc., etc. Whichever floated your boat.

    Each page also explained just what the heck you were looking at and what the significance of the drawings & writings were and how they tied into the world events of that time.

    Stupendous stuff.


    Really sorry I missed that. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 03:15:17 PM EST
    It was at the Armand Hammer Museum. (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 03:20:07 PM EST
    Before kids, now that I think about it, so >8 year ago...

    Could this be what was ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 12:51:14 PM EST
    Ross Perot's copy? (He owned one and sent it on a traveling tour of the US for the bicentennial of the Constitution in 1987, IIRC.)

    It is... (none / 0) (#5)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 02:18:40 PM EST
    the Ross Perot Magna Carta.

    The last surviving 13th century copy of the Magna Carta in private hands has been put up for auction by its owner, the maverick Texan billionaire and former US presidential candidate Ross Perot.

    The sale - potentially the last time one of the 17 known copies of one of Britain's greatest historical documents goes under the hammer - is likely to stir huge interest from both private and public collections and Sotheby's, which will sell the single sheet of vellum in New York in December, has put an estimate of £15 million on it.

    Shame on Ross..... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 02:24:17 PM EST
    I'm sure he paid a pretty penny for it, but still....how much cash do ya need Ross?  Donate it to the Smithsonian dude!

    Perot... (none / 0) (#9)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 02:30:36 PM EST
    He bought the manuscript in 1984 from relatives of the 19th century Earl of Cardigan for $1.5 million. Apparently in the family for several centuries, it was only identified during the taking of an inventory at the family's eastate at Deene Park, Northamptonshire, 10 years before.

    talk about (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jen M on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 03:30:38 PM EST
    treasures in the attic

    Wild. (none / 0) (#4)
    by manys on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 01:41:14 PM EST
    Can you imagine owning something like this? I mean, I like to shirk earthly materialism as much as the next guy (maybe not), but to hang this on your wall so when people ask what it is you can say, "Oh that, it's the Magna Carta." Priceless!

    Probably kept in a glass case, temperature- (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 02:23:00 PM EST
    and humidity-controlled in a room with carefully controlled light.

    The Bush administration is going to acquire it, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Aaron on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 03:49:04 PM EST
    So they can take a crap on it, just the way they have with the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    funny thing about the magna carta. (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 09:21:43 PM EST
    contrary to popular belief and mythology, the rights of the "people" weren't actually for all the people, only the nobility. this probably explains the serf's lack of excitement over it.

    a strong analogy can be drawn to our own constitution, as originally written. it granted most of the really important rights (voting) only to male, white landowners, our version of nobility.

    nonetheless, i would like to see the magna carta in person, having seen both the declaration of independence and the constitution up close and personal. strangely, the viewing area for both is oddly quiet; people tend to exhibit a reverence ordinarily reserved for deeply religious experiences when in the presence of these documents.

    go figure.