Sotheby’s Sold a Copy of the U.S. Constitution to CEO Kenneth Griffin

The United States Constitution is displayed at the offices of Sotheby’s on September 17, 2021. ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, Sotheby’s auction house announced that the buyer of a scarce copy of the First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution, which sold yesterday at the auction house for $43.2 million, is Kenneth Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel and a seasoned collector whose collection includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Griffin is planning to loan the copy of the Constitution to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. The CEO beat out a crypto collective known as ConstitutionDAO, who had also been attempting to buy the scarce artifact.

The individuals who made up ConstitutionDAO wanted to obtain the document for themselves, but ultimately came to the conclusion that they didn’t have enough funds to “insure, store, and transport the document.” “I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be obtainable for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces,” Griffin said in a statement of his own.

The collector who made the copy of the Constitution obtainable to Sotheby’s, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, also has a collection that includes official printings of the Stamp Act, an early printing of the Articles of Confederation and a scarce copy of the first edition of The Federalist. “It is my fervent wish that the new custodian of this Constitution will guard it and continue to ensure public access to the visual, physical, and emotional experience of the document,” Goldman said in a statement this week. “While an individual person may continue to own this Constitution, it belongs to all Americans of all genders, all colors, and religious beliefs. The Constitution is the backbone of our democracy.”

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