Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More on Magna Carta Sale

There's a bit more information on last night's Sotheby's sale of the Magna Carta, including some comments from buyer David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group.

Rubenstein, who worked as a domestic policy advisor in the Carter Administration, told the press last night "Today is a good day for our country. I was moved when I saw the manuscript at Sotheby's and I was concerned that the only copy that was in America would escape. I was convinced that it needed to stay here. This document stands the test of time. There is nothing more important than what it represents. I am privileged to be the new owner, but I am only the temporary custodian. This is a gift to the American people. It is important to me that it stays in the United States."

Bloomberg adds " Rubenstein almost missed his chance to bid. He arrived minutes before the one-lot sale began, tossing his trench coat into a checkroom and racing to the seventh-floor salesroom." Apparently the first reports of the winning bid being placed by telephone were erroneous.

This copy of the Magna Carta, one of 17 which survive, is the only one in private hands.