David Rubenstein, whose Carlyle Group owns 55% of the $6.2 billion distressed hedge fund Claren Road Asset Management, paid a shade more than $2 million this week for a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
“This particular document is I think the most important thing any president has ever done with the stroke of his pen. It did not end slavery, but it began the process toward the ending of slavery,” Rubenstein told CBS New York after beating out one other bidder for the artifact.
Lincoln is believed to have signed 48 copies in total of the 1863 decree to raise money for Union troops during the Civil War.
“All persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” the order reads. “And the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons.”
Rubenstein reportedly plans to display the document for the public in an as-yet-undetermined Washington D.C. institution.
See also: Claren Road marketing chief departs • Claren Road bucks trend, returns cash • Carlyle Group accelerates push into hedge funds