One of 13 original copies of U.S. Constitution sells for record price

by Summer Lane

One of 13 remaining original copies of the United States Constitution was sold to a private investor on Thursday, netting an almost $43.2 million price tag and catapulting past original and more conservative estimates of a potential bidding total.

According to a report from The Hill, Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department originally estimated that this copy of the Constitution would sell for anywhere between $15 million and $20 million.

Although the identity of the private investor remains anonymous, another bidding group came in a close second in the bidding war, a crypto organization called Constitution DAO. The group claims on its official Twitter page that they pooled over $40 million from 17,437 contributors to purchase the rare copy of the Constitution.

“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,” they said in a tweet. They continued, “We were the first DAO [decentralized autonomous organization] @Sothebys has every worked with, but we’re sure we won’t be the last one.”

Additionally, Sotheby’s official Twitter account announced the sale of the Constitution on Thursday night, specifying that the proceeds would go to benefit the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation’s educational program for students. Sotheby’s also directly acknowledged the Constitution DAO’s involvement in bidding on the historic document, stating that the crowdfunded project was the “largest crowdfunding initiative ever put together.”

In contrast to the whopping, multi-million-dollar price on the Constitution today, in 1988, the same document sold for $165,000 dollars, according to The Hill.

The original United States Constitution was signed in September of 1787, culminating in a heated political battle between Federalists, who preferred a more heavy-handed form of centralized government, and Anti-Federalists, who believed in smaller government and insisted on adopting a Bill of Rights. The debate between the two political camps eventually resulted in the Bill of Rights that Americans are familiar with today, which protects the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to religious freedom, among many other liberties.

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