YORK (Reuters) - A rare 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta
valued at up to $30 million is due to be sold by The Perot
Foundation at Sotheby's in New York in December, the auction
house said on Tuesday.
The Magna Carta established 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.
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 to be sold is from 1297.
Sotheby's said there are fewer than 20 copies of the
Magna Carta and that this copy, which has been on display
at the National Archives and Records Administration
in Washington D.C., is one of only two held outside
of Britain. The other copy, also from 1297, is owned
by the Australian government.
David Redden, Sotheby's vice chairman, said the document
"symbolizes mankind's eternal quest for freedom;
it is a talisman of liberty."
Sotheby's art handler looks at a 1297 issue of the Magna
Carta manuscript as it sits in its box after being unveiled
in New York September 24, 2007. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)
Sotheby's said The Perot Foundation, created
by billionaire former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot
to make philanthropic grants, would use the money for its
charities. The Foundation bought the Magna Carta in 1984.
Yahoo News Posted on Monday, August 20, 2007, 12:00AM