Friday, September 28, 2007

Copy of Magna Carta to be auctioned

A milestone of English freedom is headed for the auction block.

Sotheby's auction house said a 13th-century copy of the Magna Carta will be offered for sale in New York in December. Sotheby's estimates the manuscript will sell for $20 million to $30 million.

The document was on display at the National Archives in Washington for more than 20 years until last Thursday. The manuscript belongs to H. Ross Perot.

King John was forced by barons to agree to the charter in 1215. It guaranteed that freemen would not be imprisoned or deprived of property without due process, including a right to a speedy trial before a jury.

Versions of the Magna Carta were issued in 1216, 1217, 1225 and 1264 by John's son, King Henry III.

The copy offered by Sotheby's is dated 1297.

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