Copy of Constitution sells for $43 million at auction

The first printing of the United States Constitution is displayed during an auction at Sotheby’s auction house in New York on Thursday. It was sold for $43 million. Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images/TNS

One of 13 remaining original copies of the U.S. Constitution sold for $43.2 million at auction Thursday night.

The winner of the auction remains unknown, but it was the runner-up who made headlines. An online collective called Constitution DAO raised $40 million for the bid but couldn’t get it done, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Constitution DAO was a “decentralized autonomous organization” created for the explicit purpose of purchasing the Constitution. Donors pledged money for the chance to vote on what to do with the document if the group won. Most of the donations were made using the cryptocurrency ether.

It’s possible the winning bidder just wanted to stick it to the upstarts, as Sotheby’s expected the Constitution to sell for about $15 million to $20 million.

While 13 original copies of the Constitution remain, only two are available for private purchase. The rest belong to organizations like the Library of Congress or Princeton University.

Constitution DAO was formed partly as a joke just days before the auction, but became a “power to the people” movement that drew widespread donations.

Because the bid failed, the 17,437 people who donated will get their money back.

Dorothy Tapper Goldman auctioned the Constitution to support her foundation, which is dedicated to educating people about U.S. democracy. The Goldman family turned a tidy profit, according to Forbes. S. Howard Goldman, Dorothy’s husband, purchased the document in 1988 for $165,000.

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Tribune Wire

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