NEW YORK – A rare first edition 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.
The buyer, hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, will loan the document to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville for public display, Sotheby’s announced Friday.
Griffin, founder and CEO of multinational hedge fund Citadel, outbid a group of 17,000 cryptocurrency enthusiasts from around the world who funded the crowdfunding purchase over the past week.
“The US Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all who aspire to be,” Griffin said in a statement. “That is why I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and enjoy in our museums and other public spaces.”
Crystal Bridges Board Chair Olivia Walton said, “We are honored to exhibit one of the most important documents in our country’s history from our location in the heart of America.
The museum opened in 2011 and was founded by Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
The document Griffin purchased at Thursday night’s auction was one of 13 known copies of the Constitution’s first printing and one of only two in private hands.
This print of the Constitution was last sold in 1988, when real estate developer and collector S. Howard Goldman bought it at auction for $ 165,000.
Proceeds from Thursday’s sale will benefit a foundation created by Goldman’s widow, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, to advance understanding of constitutional principles.
“Tonight’s sale of this exceptionally rare and important print of the Constitution has been a monumental and historic occasion,” said Selby Kiffer, senior international specialist on books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, in a statement.
Kiffer said the auction result reflects how relevant the Constitution remains, “not only to America but to global democracy.”
The sub-bidder was ConstitutionDAO, who announced plans to raise millions of dollars to buy the Constitution on Twitter on November 12. DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, a type of community-run business that operates on the blockchain.
ConstitutionDAO tweeted Thursday evening: “We have shown the world what crypto and Web3 are, bringing thousands of people into the process, including museum curators and art directors who are now excited to keep learning. “
The group added: “We were the first DAO that Sothebys worked with, but we’re sure we won’t be the last.”
The previous auction record for a book or manuscript was set in 1994 when Bill Gates bought Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester from Christie’s for $ 30.8 million.