Rare first printing of U.S. Constitution sells for record $43M

<p><p>NEW YORK — A rare first printing of the U.S. Constitution sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $43.2 million, a record price for a document or book sold at auction.</p></p><p><p>The buyer, hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, will loan the document to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, for public exhibition, Sotheby’s announced Friday.</p></p><p><p>Griffin, the founder and CEO of multinational hedge fund Citadel, outbid a group of 17,000 cryptocurrency enthusiasts from around the world who crowdfunded to buy it over the last week.</p></p><p><p>“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be,” Griffin said in a statement.</p></p><p><p>“That is why I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces.”</p></p><p><p>Crystal Bridges board chairperson Olivia Walton said, “We are honored to exhibit one of the most important documents in our nation’s history from our location in the heartland of America.”</p></p><p><p>The museum opened in 2011 and was founded by Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton.</p></p><p><p>The document that Griffin purchased at Thursday night’s auction was one of 13 known copies of the first printing of the Constitution and one of only two in private hands.</p></p><p><p>This printing of the Constitution was last sold in 1988, when real estate developer and collector S. Howard Goldman bought it at auction for $165,000.</p></p><p><p>Proceeds from Thursday’s sale will benefit a foundation established by Goldman’s widow, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, to further the understanding of constitutional principles.</p></p><p><p>“Tonight’s sale of this exceptionally rare and important printing of the Constitution was a monumental and historic occasion,” Selby Kiffer, Sotheby’s senior international specialist for books and manuscripts, said in a statement.</p></p><p><p>Kiffer said the auction result reflects how relevant the Constitution remains, “not only in America but for global democracy.”</p></p><p><p>The underbidder was ConstitutionDAO, which announced its plan to raise millions of dollars to buy the Constitution on Twitter on Nov. 12. DAO stands for decentralized autonomous organization, a type of community-run business that operates on the blockchain.</p></p><p><p><a href=”https://twitter.com/ConstitutionDAO/status/1461527516670316544″ target=”—blank”>ConstitutionDAO tweeted Thursday night</a>, “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.”</p></p><p><p>The group added, “We were the first DAO Sothebys has ever worked with, but we’re sure we won’t be the last one.”</p></p><p><p>The previous auction record for a book or manuscript was set in 1994 when Bill Gates purchased the Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci at Christie’s for $30.8 million.</p></p>