Rare Copy of Magna Carta (Not the Jay-Z Record) Worth $15 Million Found in Sandwich

One of the copies of the 2015 Magna Carta held by the British Library in LondonPhoto: © The British Library Board via UNESCO
One of the copies of the 2015 Magna Carta held by the British Library in London
Photo: © The British Library Board via UNESCO

A rare 1300 edition of the Magna Carta, thought to be worth up to £10 million ($15 million), has been found in a scrapbook dating from the Victorian times in the Kent county council archives, in the town of Sandwich, the Guardian reports.

The discovery is particularly timely, as it comes in the year marking the 800th anniversary of the original Magna Carta, sealed in Runnymede in 1215. Celebrations honoring the historical document that established the rule of law have already been taking place across the UK in the last few months (see Magna Carta Back on Display in London).

“It is a fantastic discovery which comes in the week that the four other known versions were brought together at the Houses of Parliament,” Professor Nicholas Vincent, the expert on medieval history at the University of East Anglia who authenticated the document, told the Guardian. “It is a fantastic piece of news for Sandwich which puts it in a small category of towns and institutions that own a 1300 issue.”

Vincent also said that the unexpected discovery strengthens the theory that the Carta Magna was issued more widely than previously thought. Currently, there are 24 known editions of the historical document around the world.

According to the Guardian, the authorities of Sandwich are not planning to sell their Magna Carta, which is ripped and has about a third missing. It will most likely be made available for public display, and could become a major tourist attraction.


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