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Rare first-edition copy of US Constitution sold for $43.2 million

Rare first-edition copy of US Constitution sold for $43.2 million

The copy was sold for more than double of its $20 million estimate, and set a world auction record for any book, manuscript, historical document or printed text.

In all, there are only 13 known copies of the official printing of the US Constitution. In all, there are only 13 known copies of the official printing of the US Constitution.

An extremely rare first-edition copy of the Constitution of the United States was auctioned for a record breaking $43.2 million on Thursday evening in New York by Sotheby's.

The copy was sold for more than double of its $20 million estimate, and set a world auction record for any book, manuscript, historical document or printed text. The previous world auction record for a book and manuscript stood at $30.8 million for The Codex Leicester sold at Christie's in 1994.

The document sold on Thursday is from the collection of Dorothy Tapper, wife of late S. Howard Goldman, a New York real estate developer who died in 1997. It is one of the only two copies that remain in private hands. In 1988, the same document was auctioned at Sotheby's for just $1,65,000. In all, there are only 13 known copies of the official printing of the US Constitution.

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There was an eight-minute bidding war during the auction, and finally the Constitution was sold to billionaire Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, a multinational hedge fund. Griffin will loan it to an American art museum in Arkansas.

The proceeds from the sale will benefit the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the understanding of US democracy and how the acts of all citizens can make a difference.

Griffin defeated a cypto collective called ConstitutionDAO -- a group of over 17,000 people from around the world who banded together through social media within the last week to raise money to acquire the document, marking the largest crowd funding initiative ever put together. The group had reportedly raised $40 million.

Selby Kiffer, Sotheby's Senior International Specialist for Books and Manuscripts, said, "Tonight's sale of this exceptionally rare and important printing of the Constitution was a monumental and historic occasion. The Constitution needs little introduction as one of the most influential and significant historical documents ever conceived, and tonight's result reflects how relevant it remains 234 years later--not only in America but for global democracy."   

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Published on: Nov 20, 2021, 5:31 PM IST
Posted by: Vinay Rai, Nov 20, 2021, 5:25 PM IST