Sotheby’s rarely puts US Constitution copy on auction

A very special birth certificate will be understood later this year – a rare copy of the US Constitution

NEW YORK – A very special birth certificate will be unveiled later this year – a rare copy of the US Constitution.

Sotheby’s announced on Friday – in line with Constitution Day – that it would put up for auction one of only 11 surviving copies of the Constitution from the official first print produced for delegates to the Constitutional Convention and the Continental Congress. It is the only copy that remains in private hands and has an estimated $ 15 million- $ 20 million.

“This is the final text. The debate over what the Constitution would say was over with this document. The debate over whether to adopt the Constitution has just begun,” said Selby Kiffer, an international senior specialist at Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department, the Associated Press.

“This was the Constitution, but it did not come into force until it was debated and ratified. So this was the first step in the process where we are now living under this 234-year-old document.

It will contribute about 80 constitutional and related documents at the auction of the respectable house. The copy of the Constitution will be in public view at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries until September 19 and then travel to Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas before returning to New York this fall.

It’s Kiffer’s second time to deal with the rare document. He also put his auction in the foreground in 1988. At that time, it went for just $ 165,000. “Even though it’s many years later and I’ve handled a lot of great things and I’m more experienced, I have to say it’s so exciting, if not a little more exciting, the second time around,” he said.

The document is from the collection of Dorothy Tapper and proceeds from the sale of the collection The Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which is dedicated to improving understanding of US democracy and how the actions of all citizens make a difference.

“It would have belonged either to a member of the Continental Congress or to one of the delegates to the Continental Convention. Those were the only people who had access to this first print,” Kiffer said, estimating that it had made several hundred copies originally. were. “Your eyes are immediately drawn to the first line, ‘We are the people of the United States.'”


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