Historical Auction: A Rare Copy Of The US Constitution Sold For $43 Million

A rare original copy of the 1787 US Constitution was sold Thursday night at a New York auction, organized by the famous house Sotheby's, for 43 million dollars.

According to the auction house, the amount was a "world record for a historic document offered at auction". A spokesman said this important piece of American political history was sold for exactly "$43.2 million," including commissions, AFP reported.

Sotheby's said only 13 known original copies of the first printing of the US Constitution, signed on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, remained, compared to the 500 that were likely printed at the time.

The original copy sold Thursday night - one of only two copies still owned by a private individual, American collector Dorothy Tapper Goldman - had been estimated last September at between $15 million and $20 million.

It sold for more than double that amount in just eight minutes, with bids made in the New York room and by phone from around the world.

The Big Loser Of The Auction

Sotheby's did not disclose the name of the buyer but said a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts lost the competition to buy the historic document.

The group called "ConstitutionDAO" (DAO = "Decentralized Autonomous Organization") admitted on Twitter that, despite its best efforts, it did not win the bid for the copy of the US Constitution.

In recent days, the group has been running a $40 million fundraising campaign on the cryptocurrency network Ethereum (the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin).

"We didn't get the Constitution, but we made history nonetheless. We broke records for the largest crowdfund for a physical object and most money crowdfunded in 72h, which will of course be refunded to everyone who participated.

We showed the world what crypto and web3, onboarding thousands of people in the process, including museum curators and art directors who are now excited to keep learning.

We were the first DAO Sothebys has ever worked with, but we're sure we won't be the last one," boasted ConstitutionDAO on Twitter.

Sotheby's has previously clarified that the Constitution copy cannot be purchased directly in cryptocurrencies.

Only Two Copies Of The US Constitution Are In Private Hands

The text, signed by the "Founding Fathers" of the United States, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison, was part of a private collection of American constitutional documents from the Revolutionary period 1776-1789.

Selby Kiffer, a historian, and manuscript and antiquarian book expert at Sotheby's, hailed in a statement "the monumental and historic occasion of the sale of this exceptionally rare print," which likely was printed on the evening of September 16, 1787.

This famous constitutional text, which begins with the famous phrase "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, (...) establish this Constitution for the United States of America", was then ratified by the states between December 1787 (starting with Delaware) and May 1790 (Rhode Island).

Sotheby's chose to exhibit this collection last September on the occasion of the 234th anniversary of the US Constitution.

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