The founder of an investment group buys the Magna Carta at auction for 21.3 million U.S. dollars and plans to keep it on display at the National Archives.
MOREINFO: It was sold by The Perot Foundation, an organisation created by billionaire former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot to make philanthropic grants. The money from the sale of the document will be used for Perot Foundation charities.
They say you can't put a price on freedom.
But last night a rare 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta was sold at auction for 21.3 million U.S. dollars at Sotheby's auction house in New York
The Magna Carta is considered by many to be one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy.
It was first written in 1215 after rebellious English barons forced the oppressive King John to accept that his will was bound by law.
It was finally enacted into law in 1297 by the British parliament and the U.S. Constitution includes ideas and phrases taken almost directly from the Magna Carta.
The winning bidder, David Rubenstein, is the founder of private equity firm The Carlyle Group and says he wants the National Archives and Records Administration in the U.S. to keep the iconic document on display.
DAVID RUBENSTEIN, WHO BOUGHT THE MAGNA CARTA, SAYING:
"I thought it was very important that the Magna Carta stay in the United States, and I was concerned that the only copy in the United States, might escape from the United States as a result of this auction. So I felt determined to do what I could to make sure that the National Archives would have this for display for all Americans to see and all people who care about freedom to see for quite sometime in the future.."
Although he was inside Sotheby's for the auction, Rubenstein bid on the phone, he says, so he could he keep a clear head.
And although he says he would have paid more, he's glad he didn't have to.
DAVID RUBENSTEIN, BOUGHT THE MAGNA CARTA, SAYING:
"I don't think you can put a price on freedom. I don't think you can put a price on this precious document. I'm very pleased with the price I paid. I'm very pleased that the American people will have this."
Sotheby's says there are fewer than 20 copies of the Magna Carta and that this copy is one of only two held outside of Britain.
Stefanie McIntyre, Reuters
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