Carlyle CEO buys 1776 printing of Declaration of Independence

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief executive of U.S. private equity giant Carlyle Group bought a copy of the first newspaper printing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence for a record $632,500 on Tuesday, adding to his collection of historic documents for public view.

A handout photo shows the Declaration of Independence on the front page of the Pennsylvania Evening Post dated July 6, 1776 provided by Seth Kaller, Inc., on June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Seth Kaller Inc./Handout via Reuters

David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Washington-based asset manager, bought the printing of The Pennsylvania Evening Post from July 6, 1776, two days after American colonists declared their independence from the British crown.

It was the highest price ever paid at auction for a historic newspaper, said Seth Kaller, an expert and dealer in historic documents who represented the seller in the auction at the Robert A. Siegel Galleries in New York.

Rubenstein has acquired several historic documents that are on loan to U.S. institutions, including a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation declaring freedom for slaves that is signed by Abraham Lincoln and on loan to the Oval Office of the White House, Carlyle spokesman Christopher Ullman said.

“He purchases these and then is putting them on permanent loan at important institutions so that more people can see them,” Ullman said. “When he dies, he’ll make them permanent.”

Among those are a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta on loan to the National Archives, where the signed manuscripts of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are displayed, and the first map of the United States after declaring independence, on display at the Library of Congress, Ullman said.

Rubenstein has not yet decided where to display The Pennsylvania Evening Post, one of 19 copies known to exist.

The one Rubenstein bought was in very fine condition, Kaller said.

“It looks like it did in 1776,” Kaller said. “No fading and very little toning to the paper.”

(This story has been corrected to fix day to Tuesday, not Monday)

Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Leslie Adler