Magna Carta Archives

February 3, 2012 by staff 

Magna Carta Archives, A 715-year old copy of Magna Carta will soon return to public view at the National Archives after a conservation effort removed old patches and repaired weak spots in the English declaration of human rights that inspired the United States’ founding documents.

The National Archives unveiled the medieval document Thursday in a specially humidified glass and metal case. It is the only original Magna Carta in the United States and will return to public display Feb. 17.

A $13.5 million gift from philanthropist David Rubenstein funded the conservation, the custom-built case and a new gallery being renovated to host Magna Carta. Rubenstein bought the historic document at auction in 2007 for $21.3 million and sent it to the National Archives on a long-term loan.

Rubenstein, a co-founder of the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, said he sought the document previously owned by Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot because he wanted to keep it from leaving the country.

As a history buff, Rubenstein has become an expert on Magna Carta’s legacy dating to 1215. That’s when noblemen came together to declare their rights to King John, including the first limits on arbitrary taxation that led to the principle of “no taxation without representation” and the right to a trial by jury.

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