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Rediff.com  » News » Magna Carta to fetch Rs 120 crore at Sotheby's sale

Magna Carta to fetch Rs 120 crore at Sotheby's sale

September 26, 2007 18:30 IST

A 13th century version of Magna Carta, which first enshrined the authority of the English over their monarch, is expected to fetch $30 million (about Rs 120 crore) at a sale in New York, Sotheby's auction house has said.

The 2,500-word manuscript, described as "the most important document ever offered for auction" will be displayed for sale in mid-December, Sotheby's said.

The document was on display at the National Archives in Washington for more than 20 years until last Thursday. It was at Runnymede in 1215 that the unpopular King John was forced to set his seal to Magna Carta or "Great Charter" by a group of rebellious barons and churchmen.

It established the principle that no man is above the law and was a formative influence on the later development of British parliamentary democracy and the American independence movement.

Magna Carta compelled the King to renounce certain rights, respect specified legal procedures and accept that his will could be bound by the law.
It also introduced ideas that were later interpreted as the right to a speedy trial, the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers and the right to protection from unlawful imprisonment. Discovered among the Brudenell family records in England in 1974, the copy is one of only four remaining of the 1297 charter.