A rare copy of the United States Constitution was sold for $43 million at a Sotheby’s auction, making it one of the most expensive historic documents ever sold.
The copy was in the possession of Dorothy Tapper Goldman, a New York-based philanthropist. In 1988, her husband Harry Goldman purchased the document from Sotheby’s for $165,000. Goldman had once loaned the copy to the US Supreme Court in 1987 to commemorate the two centuries since the ratification of the constitution. After Goldman’s death in 1997, the document along with the rest of his collection was passed to his wife.
Two bidders on phone competed for the purchase of the document, driving the price much above its initial estimate of $15 million. The winning bid of $43 million was made by Kenneth Griffin, the co-founder of Citadel. Griffin, who is a mega-collector, later said that he would loan the document for exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Another early bidder was a coalition of crypto investors known as Constitution DOA, but later confirmed that they were outbid.
The 1787 edition of the Constitution was the final edition of the document which was submitted to Congress. About 500 copies of the document were made at the time. Today, it is believed that only 13 copies remain – making it one of the rarest historical documents. The one sold at the auction was the only copy that was under private ownership.