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Archives Unveils Restored Magna Carta

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The National Archives is unveiling its newly restored copy of the Magna Carta. Philanthropist David Rubenstein bought the 715-year-old document at auction in 2007 for $21 million and sent it to the Archives on a long-term loan. He then made an additional gift of $13.5 million to restore the parchment, the only Magna Carta in the U.S., and one of only 17 worldwide.

The first Magna Carta was written in the year 1215, when English noblemen came together to craft a document declaring their rights. It led to freedoms laid out in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, including the concept of no taxation without representation and the right to a trial by jury, among other things.

The Archives' copy is one of four reissued in the year 1297 and still carries the wax seal of then-King Edward I of England.

Now that old patches have been removed and weak spots repaired, the Magna Carta will go back on public display later this month in a special glass and metal case. An expanded exhibit will open in 2013.

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