A copy of the Magna Carta has been sold for more than £10m to an American tycoon who promises it will remain on public display in America.David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, paid $21.3m (£10.6m) for the document at Sotheby’s in New York yesterday – the first time a copy of the historical charter has been sold by public auction. The copy was issued in 1297 by King Edward I, when the Magna Carta formally became part of English law, more than 80 years after it was written. It is one of only 17 in existence and the only one in private ownership. It has been displayed beside the Declaration of Independence in the National Archives in Washington, loaned by Ross Perot, the billionaire former US presidential candidate.Rubenstein, who worked in the White House during the Jimmy Carter administration, said: “Today is a good day for our country. I was moved when I saw the manuscript at Sotheby’s and I was concerned that the only copy that was in America would escape. I was convinced that it needed to stay here.“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.”
David Redden, vice chairman of Sotheby’s, said the Magna Carta was “the most important document in the world, the birth certificate of freedom”.
It was originally written because of disagreements between King John and the English barons about the power of the king. It required the king to renounce certain rights, respect specified legal procedures and accept that his will could be bound by the law.
It established that no man is above the law and enshrines the right against unlawful imprisonment and the right to a trial by jury.
BBC and Times of London details on Cronaca