A 1297 copy of the Magna Carta, the founding document of constitutional law, sold at auction for $21.3 million last night. Ross Perot's foundation put the document up for sale at Sotheby's in New York, where it was bought by David Rubenstein, a private equity magnate who served in the Carter administration. Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, has said he'll lend the copy to the National Archives in Washington.
The Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215, asserted that the sovereign was not above the law and established a charter of liberties. The 1297 version, slightly amended and bearing the wax seal of John's grandson Edward I, was the first edition promulgated as English law. Perot has said that the proceeds from the sale will go to medical research and veterans' aid.