Mon, 04 Dec 2023

New York City, New York: Chicago hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin bought a rare first printing of the U.S. Constitution for $43.2 million, a record price for a document or book sold at auction.

The auction was held at Sotheby's in New York City.

Late last week, Sotheby's announced that the document will be loaned by Griffin to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Griffin, founder and CEO of multinational hedge fund Citadel, outbid a crowdfunded effort by a group of 17,000 cryptocurrency enthusiasts from around the world.

In a statement, Griffin said, "The US 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."

On behalf of the museum, Crystal Bridges board chairperson Olivia Walton 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," as quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The document was one of 13 known copies of the first printing of the Constitution and one of only two owned privately.

Real estate developer and collector S. Howard Goldman bought the printing of this Constitution in 1988, when it was sold at auction for $165,000.

Proceeds from Thursday's sale will be donated to a foundation established by Goldman's widow, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, which aims to promote a better understanding of constitutional principles.

In a statement, Sotheby's senior international specialist for books and manuscripts, Selby Kiffer, said, "Tonight's sale of this exceptionally rare and important printing of the Constitution was a monumental and historic occasion."

The previous auction record for a book or manuscript was set in 1994 when Bill Gates paid $30.8 million for the Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci.

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