Magna Carta For Sale

Magna Carta seal
Magna Carta document
Magna Carter auctioned at Sotheby's

Recently, a historical document made big news when it surpassed all estimates at auction. Sotheby’s conducted the sale of the sole, privately owned copy of England’s Magna Carta. This landmark, 13th-century document was auctioned-off to Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein, for $21.3 million. Billionaire Ross Perot was the previous owner of the highly historic document. The document represents the rise of due process over monarchal authority.

While a historic treaty is not easy to add to a home collection, documents, seals, and historic maps have long made for fine collectibles. Official documents are a great piece of history and are often housed in museums or institutions like the Library of Congress. Private collections of newspapers to deeds to wartime letters can document a community as it moves through history.

According to sales on Ebay, currently of particular interest in the world of historical documents are classic car titles. A 1949 Studebaker Pickup title is being listed at $250 as a piece of automotive history. Decrees signed and sealed by a state’s governor can also make for an interesting collectible – especially in the case of historic legislation or when the political figure is of special significance.

The Hard Rock Café, Inc. owns the original lyrics of many popular music hits. These official documents are on display in their restaurants and hotels and are highly valued collectibles.

From the Declaration of Independence to the Rolling Stones biggest hits, original documents can make for exciting collectibles.

  • Tom Carrier

    The Great Charter, as it is translated, is actually several different versions. When King John died in 1216, his nine year old son Henry III was crowned King of England and reigned for 56 years. During that time, Magna Carta was amended and reissued 3 times during his reign and so there are versions dated 1216, 1217, and 1225. There were additional alterations as time went on to include the 1297 version that was recently sold at auction, the only copy in private hands. It is not the original Magna Carta stamped with the seal of King John on June 15, 1215 (no one signed the 1215 document).

    It is still a most unique series of documents, although most of its original sections have since been repealed over the past 800 years. It’s original intent as a bedrock of civil liberties should still be recognized as a precursor to our own earlier documents of freedom, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

    Visit the commemorative gold version of Magna Carta on display in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, a gift of England to the United States on the occasion of its bicentennial in 1976.

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