Enrichment Arts & Culture

One of just 13 original copies of US Constitution sells at auction for twice its estimated value

Story at a glance

  • A private investor on Thursday outbid a crypto-currency group in an auction for a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Constitution DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), which lost out, said it had pooled $40 million to “put the Constitution in the hands of The People.”
  • Sotheby’s estimated the document would sell for somewhere between $15 million and $20 million.

A private investor on Thursday outbid a crypto-currency group in an auction for a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution. 

The winning bid outweighed one from Constitution DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), which claimed it pooled $40 million to “put the Constitution in the hands of The People.” The crypto group said it amassed donations from more than 17,000 investors. 

The private bidder put up nearly $43.2 million to secure one of the thirteen remaining documents from the Constitutional Convention — soaring past Sotheby’s estimate the document would sell for somewhere between $15 and $20 million. 

Sotheby’s began accepting cryptocurrency earlier this year during its sale of a work by the artist Banksy.

The crypto group thanked contributors on social media following the sale, noting the historical value of their attempt. 

“We didn’t get the Constitution, but we made history nonetheless,” Constitution DAO wrote on Twitter

“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,” they added. 

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Selby Kiffer, an international senior specialist in Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department who was involved in a previous sale of this particular document, told The Associated Press in September, “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.’”

The document sold for $165,000 in 1988. 

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