by Judd Mustin, The Chicago Times
November 21, 2021
CHICAGO — A rare first printing of the United States Constitution sold at Sotheby’s New York on Thursday night for $43.2 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for a historical document, to a buyer who outbid a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Sotheby’s identified the buyer as entrepreneur Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund. Griffin intends to lend the Constitution to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for public display.
“The US Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be. I am pleased that Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which always offers free admission, will be the first venue to display our country’s foundational document.” Griffin said in a statement.
The first printing of the Constitution, 1 of 13 privately owned copies, sold for more than double Sotheby’s top estimate range of $20 million. The winning bid also represented a significant increase over the $165,000 the document sold for in 1988 to the late real estate developer and collector of American documents and manuscripts, S. Howard Goldman. The entire sale proceeds will be donated to a foundation established by Goldman’s widow, Dorothy.