Story at a glance

  • A rare copy of the U.S. Constitution is slated to go up for sale on Nov. 11.
  • The document is one of 11 remaining copies first printed for delegates at the Continental Congress.
  • Estimates value the rare piece of American history between $15 million and $20 million.

A rare copy of the U.S. Constitution is slated to go up for auction later this year, Sotheby’s announced Friday. 

The document, one of just 11 remaining copies first printed for delegates at the Continental Congress, will go up for sale at the auction Nov. 11. Estimates value the rare piece of American history between $15 million and $20 million, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

“This is the final text. The debate on what the Constitution would say was over with this document. The debate about whether the Constitution was going to be adopted was just beginning,” Selby Kiffer, an international senior specialist in Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department, told The Associated Press.

“This was the Constitution, but it didn’t take effect until it had been debated and ratified. So this was the first step in the process of us living now under this 234-year-old document,” Kiffer added. 


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The unique document, which is from the collection of Dorothy Tapper, will be accompanied by nearly 80 other Constitution-related documents. It is currently on display for public viewing at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries in New York. 

Kiffer told the AP he’s dealt with this particular document before, when in 1988 it sold for $165,000, noting “it’s just as exciting, if not a little bit more exciting, the second time around.” 

“It would have belonged to either a member of the Continental Congress or to one of the delegates to the Continental Convention,” Kiffer said. “Those were the only people who had access to this first printing. Your eye is immediately drawn to that first line, ‘We the people of the United States.’”


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Published on Sep 17, 2021