(This is the kind of headline my late dear grandmother would have swooned over! As a Magna Carter Dame who pilgramaged with my aunt to Runnymeade in the 70s, she took this document very seriously and instilled in me the importance of our forebearers' foresight to the freedoms we have, and often take for granted, in our country today. It was the beginning of the Rule of Law. I guess her influence and my lineage make me a proud Magna Carta damette, or something like that.)
One of 17 copies of the Magna Carta sold for $21.9 million yesterday:
Bearing the seal of King Edward I and dated 1297, it is one of 17 known copies of the historic tract that defined human rights as the foundation for liberty and democracy as it is known today. It is one of two that exist outside Britain; the other is in Australia.
The Perot Foundation bought its copy from a British family for $1.5 million. From 1988 until earlier this year it was on loan to the National Archives in Washington, sharing space with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, two documents that drew on its principles.
"Over those years," Redden said, "it may have been seen by 40 to 50 million people, certainly the most viewed version of the Magna Carta anywhere."
The Magna Carta came into existence when a group of English barons demanded that King John affix his seal to a list of protections at Runnymede in 1215. Those edicts were not fulfilled, but subsequent versions of the document followed for the next 80 years, until 1297, when it was codified into law.
Tuesday's sale price included the auction house's commission.