Magna Carta Is Going on the Auction Block

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/25/nyregion/25magna.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

[…] Sotheby’s, which today is expected to announce plans to auction it 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. Sotheby’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 Perot Magna Carta dates to 1297 and was endorsed by King Edward I. […]

Trudy Renna, the only employee of the Perot Foundation identified on its tax return, said in a telephone interview last week that the foundation decided to sell Magna Carta to “have funds available for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families.”

The tax return listed the foundation’s assets as $56.9 million at the end of last year and its contributions as $9.08 million, including more than $4 million for medical research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Mr. Perot is listed as president of the foundation and also as a director. Seven of the nine other directors are his wife, Margot; their five children; and his sister, Bette Perot.


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