Magna Carta sells in NY auction for $21.3 million
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rare 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta was sold at auction for $21.3 million by The Perot Foundation at Sotheby's in New York, the auction house said on Tuesday.
The Magna Carta established the rights of the English people and curbed the power of the king. The U.S. Constitution includes ideas and phrases taken almost directly from the charter, which rebellious barons forced their oppressive King John to sign in 1215.
Sotheby's said the Magna Carta was ratified and reissued with each monarch who succeeded John. It was enacted as law in 1297 by the British parliament when it was reissued by King Edward I. The copy sold on Tuesday is from 1297.
When it announced the auction in September, Sotheby's said the document was valued at up to $30 million.
The medieval vellum manuscript was bought at auction by the founder of a private equity firm, David Rubenstein, who plans to keep it where it has been on display at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington D.C.
Sotheby's said there are fewer than 20 copies of the Magna Carta and that this copy is one of only two held outside of Britain. The other copy, also from 1297, is owned by the Australian government.
The Perot Foundation, created by billionaire former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot to make philanthropic grants, will use the money for its charities. The Foundation bought the Magna Carta in 1984.
(1984 purchase price was 1.5 million, not a bad appreciation!)