Last November, Sotheby’s captured the world’s attention when they offered up one of the only remaining copies of the first printing of the U.S. Constitution, which realized a record-breaking $43.2 million result. This month, they’re hoping that lightning will strike twice by selling another rare first printing of the Constitution during a dedicated live sale on November 13.
In 2021, the sale of the Constitution became a media spectacle when crypto enthusiasts began ConstitutionDAO in the hope of crowdfunding a winning bid for the rare document. They said they wanted to gift the document, in some undefined way, to the public.
A bidding war the day of the sale ensued, and though the DAO has raised a whopping $40 million (well above the document’s estimate of $15 million), the winning bid came from Ken Griffin. Griffin is the founder of the hedge fund Citadel and a major Republican donor. The document is currently on view at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, in the exhibition “We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy.”
The copy of the Constitution that is going on sale this month last traded hands 125 years ago, when it was bought as a gift for Adrian Van Sinderen, who would go on to become a major rare book collector. The document is estimated at $20 million–$30 million, the highest estimate ever given to a historical document.
It is one of the 13 remaining copies from the first printing of the Constitution, of which there were originally 500 documents. The other remaining copies reside in public institutions.
“We hope the remarkable opportunity to acquire one of two privately owned copies of the Constitution will inspire a similar response that galvanized the public last year,” said Richard Austin, Sotheby’s global head of books and manuscripts, in a statement.