Sothebyâ€™s, which today is expected to announce plans to auction the Magna Carta in New York in mid-December, estimates that the document will sell for $20 million to $30 million. It is the only copy in the United States and the only copy in private hands. Sothebyâ€™s says the 16 others are owned by the British or Australian governments or by ecclesiastical or educational institutions in England.
Until last week, this copy was on display in the National Archives in Washington, steps from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But it was only on loan from a foundation controlled by the Texas billionaire Ross Perot, who bought it in 1984 for $1.5 million.
The foundation told the archives this month that it had decided to end the loan and take back Magna Carta. Its departure came so suddenly that the archives did not have time to remodel the display case or fill it with some of the nine billion documents from the archivesâ€™ own collection.
The Perot Magna Carta dates to 1297 and was endorsed by King Edward I. The National Archives said that of the 17 original versions that still exist, 4 are from the reign of John; 8 are from Henry III; and 5 are from Edward I. Mr. Neilson said that some jurists consider the Perot Magna Carta to be the most important one because it was the one that was entered into the statute books in England.
The money from the sale will go to medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families.Â
It’s his document and he can do as he wishes, and I certainly can’t say supporting the above mentioned causes aren’t worth while – but he has plenty of funds and other notable objects to sell to support them.Â It certainly was noble of him to donate such a piece of history and for it to lie next to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for so long for all of America to appreciate.Â In my opinion, it was in it’s rightful place next to those two great historical documents.
I scanned this pic from one of his books I finished reading last month.