Sotheby’s auctions rare copy of US Constitution

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NEW YORK (AP) – A very special document will be auctioned later this year – a rare copy of the US Constitution.

Sotheby’s announced on Friday – aptly Constitution Day – that in November it would auction one of the 11 surviving copies of the Constitution from the first official print produced for delegates to the Constitutional Convention and for Congress. continental. It is the only copy which remains in private hands and whose estimate is between 15 and 20 million dollars.

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

“It was the Constitution, but it only came into effect after it was debated and ratified. So that was the first step in the process where we now live under this 234 year old document, ”he said of the document created in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia.

It will join around 80 constitutional and related documents auctioned by the venerable house. The copy of the Constitution is on display to the public in the galleries of Sotheby’s York Avenue until September 19, then travels to Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, before returning to New York this fall.

This is the second time that Kiffer has handled the rare document. He also ran its auction in 1988. At the time, it cost only $ 165,000. “Although it’s a lot of years later and I’ve been dealing with a lot of great things and I’m more experienced, I have to say it’s just as exciting, if not a little more exciting, the second time around,” did he declare. .

The document is from the Dorothy Tapper Collection and the proceeds from the sale of the collection will benefit the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which is dedicated to advancing understanding of American democracy and how the actions of all citizens can make the difference.

“It would have belonged either to a member of the Continental Congress or to one of the delegates to the Continental Convention. They were the only people who had access to that first impression, ”Kiffer said, estimating that there had been several hundred copies originally. “Your eye is immediately drawn to that first line: ‘We the people of the United States’. “

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