Monday, December 10, 2007

What's Your Bid For The Birth Certificate Of Freedom?

Christmas is around the corner. What better way to show the ones you love how much you care for them then by puchasing this incredible artifact! Imagine the looks on their faces when they open up their wrapped package to find this little beauty: The Magna Carta, one of the 17 original copies that survive from 1297.

As reported by the Washington Times:
NEW YORK — In 1215, a group of English barons handed King John a document written on parchment and forever changed the relationship between the monarchy and those it governed.

The document was the Magna Carta. Now, nearly 800 years later, about 17 copies survive, and one of those, signed by King Edward I in 1297, will go up for bid Dec. 18 at Sotheby's auction house.

Although that original edict was initially ignored and John died the next year, its key ideas were included in other variations over the next few decades, most notably the right of habeas corpus, which protects citizens from unlawful imprisonment.

The document, which Sotheby's Vice Chairman David Redden calls "the most important document in the world," is expected to fetch a record $20 million to $30 million.

Although earlier versions of the royal edict were written and then ignored, Mr. Redden said, "The 1297 Magna Carta became the operative version, the one that was entered into English common law and became the law of the land," ultimately affecting democracies around the world.

Today, its impact is felt by perhaps a third of the world's people, he said. This includes all of North America, India, Pakistan, much of Africa, Australia and other areas that were included in the British Commonwealth.

"When it's something as enormously important as this, you try to get a handle on it," he said. "It is absolutely correct to say the Magna Carta is the birth certificate of freedom. It states the bedrock principle that no person is above the law — that is the essence of it."

Only two copies of the Magna Carta exist outside Britain: one in Australia and the one Sotheby's is auctioning off.
So if you have $20 or $30 million dollars laying around, you too can own this fine piece of history. You might even want to take it to Kinko's to have it laminated.

By the way, what was that bedrock principle again ? No one is above the law ?
Does that include some elected leaders, business executives, and illegal aliens? I guess not.