An copy of the Magna Carta dated 1297 - the only one of seventeen original copies in private hands - will be sold at auction at Sotheby's this December. The copy, which is owed by Ross Perot's foundation, was until recently on display at the National Archives in Washington. "The foundation told the archives this month that it had decided to end the loan and take back Magna Carta. Its departure came so suddenly that the archives did not have time to remodel the display case or fill it with some of the nine billion documents from the archives’ own collection."
Perot bought the Magna Carta in 1984 for $1.5 million. It is expected to fetch up to $30 million this time around. According to a foundation employee quoted in the Times, the foundation decided to sell the document in order to "have funds available for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families."
Sotheby's is trumpeting the sale as "The Most Important Document Ever Offered at Auction."
More here and here.