An early printing of the U.S. Constitution was auctioned with a million-dollar valuation that made it the highest-valued historical document ever sold at auction. The winning bid outbid a group of cryptocurrency owners.
Kenneth Griffin, CEO of a multinational investment group, was the one who bought the manuscript for $43,2 million, and will loan it to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas for display, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The winning bid for the document, which contains one of 13 original copies of the first printing of the Constitution dating back to 1787, was more than double the pre-sale estimate of $15 million to $20 million. It last sold in 1988 to S. Howard Goldman, a real estate developer and collector for $165,000, less than 260 times the value it fetched at this latest auction.
Griffin beat out the bidding of just over 17,000 cryptocurrency owners from a decentralized autonomous organization called “ConstitutionDAO” formed to finance the purchase of the document.
The group, which reported via Twitter that it raised $40 million in less than a week, with an average contribution of $206.26 per donor, had announced its fundraising plan to buy the Constitution on Nov. 12 via a post on the same social network.
Despite failing to get their hands on the prized document, on Thursday ConstitutionDAO tweeted about their great feat: “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.”
Meanwhile Griffin said in a statement, “The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be.”
“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,” added the lucky winner.
Regarding Griffin’s announcement, Olivia Walton, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art board chair, 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.”
Proceeds from Thursday’s sale will be used by Goldman’s widow Dorothy Tapper Goldman’s foundation, “which is dedicated to furthering the understanding of our democracy and how the acts of all citizens can make a difference,” according to the global art broker Sotheby’s website.