Magna Carta to go on sale in New York

NEW YORK, Sept 25, 2007 (AFP) – A rare copy of the Magna Carta, a 13th century English document enshrining the rule of law, is to go on sale in New York in December, in one of the most important ever sales of a document. The royal charter, dated 1297 and bearing the seal of King Edward I, is expected to fetch up to 30 million dollars when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s, the auction house said in a statement Tuesday.

The iconic vellum document is one of fewer than 20 examples of the Magna Carta and the only one ever likely to be sold. Only two copies exist outside of Britain, one of which belongs to Australia.

The proceeds of the sale are to go to a charity set up by US billionaire and former presidential candidate Ross Perot.

“The Magna Carta is the first rung on the ladder to freedom, followed by the great American charters of freedom,” David Redden, Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s, said in the statement announcing the sale.

“This document symbolizes mankind’s eternal quest for freedom; it is a talisman of liberty.”

The Magna Carta, which is Latin for “Great Charter,” was initially issued in 1215 but not finally confirmed as English law until 1297.

It was originally written because of di