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Putting a price on priceless items.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed this yet, a copy of the Magna Carta from 1297 is being auctioned by Sotheby’s in December.

I emailed my history professor to tell him, and his response was this:

I had not seen that, so thanks for sending it.
I was going to offer some snarky comment about
some knucklehead getting a hold of it, but Perot
having already owned it kind of blows that up.
Someone with more money than sense will no doubt
get it and make trading cards out of pieces of it
or something.

That pretty much sums it up.

And yes, he really said “snarky”. Love it.

4 comments to Putting a price on priceless items.

  • Tam

    So who should own it?

    HINT: “The people” is not an available answer. ;)

  • Squeaky Wheel

    Well, yeah, SOMEONE has to own it, and I realize that. I just take issue with the fact that Sotheby’s is auctioning it. I know they’re a well-recognized auctioneer or whatever, but it kind of cheapens things to have a rich-boy cattle-call for owning part of such an important piece of history. I only hope that the person who ends up with it decides to do what Perot did and “lend” it to the National Archives.

  • Tam

    That’s probably exactly what will happen. The subset of people rich enough to win that auction and interested enough in history to make a bid is exceedingly small. But the object is not “priceless”; it has a price, just like everything else, and that price is exactly what someone is willing to pay for it.

    I have a bit of a bias watching history buffs get their noses out of joint about stuff like that; just because I own thousand-plus year-old coins doesn’t mean I go sticking them in vending machines, even though I’m an unwashed prole and not a history prof.

  • Squeaky Wheel

    Hahaha…well, the key requirements for someone being assumed to turn the Magna Carta into trading cards is that they have more money than sense. No one ever doubted your mental capacity, Tam, nor your common sense. I just look around at the people who have $30m lying around and would possibly buy the document, and it doesn’t give me a happy feeling. Oh, well.