Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Citadel, bid on ConstitutionDAO, a group of 17,000 crypto enthusiasts who raised $47 million but not enough to ensure the document was preserved and preserved.
A rare first edition of the United States Constitution sold at Sotheby’s New York Thursday night for $43.2 million — the highest ever auction price for a historic document — to a buyer who outdone a group of crypto enthusiasts still claiming the victory of crowdfunding.
A Sotheby spokesperson late Friday afternoon identified the buyer as businessman Kenneth Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, a hedge fund based in Chicago, Illinois. Griffin says he plans to loan the Constitution to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for public display.
“The Constitution of the United States is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and everyone who aspires to be,” Griffin said in a statement. “I am pleased that the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which always offers free admission, will be the first place to display our country’s founding document.”
The first edition of the Constitution—one of only 13 remaining privately owned copies—sold for more than twice the range of Sotheby’s top estimate of $20 million. The winning bid also saw a sharp rise from the $165,000 for which the document was sold in 1988 to the late real estate developer and collector of American documents and manuscripts, the late S. Howard Goldman.
All proceeds from the sale will go to a foundation set up by Goldman’s widow, Dorothy.
The sale was closely watched, not only for the historical significance of the document, but also because of the hype surrounding cryptocurrency crowdfunding group ConstitutionDAO.
In the lead up to the auction, the group broke records for the most crowdfunding in less than 72 hours.
DAO, which stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is an online community that uses blockchain technology to allow members to vote on decisions.
“Although this was not the outcome we had hoped for, we are still making history tonight,” the group said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We’ve taught a whole group of people around the world—from curators and art directors to our grandmothers asking us what ‘ethics’ is when they read about us in the news—about the possibilities of Web 3,” the note states.
– ConstitutionDAO (📜, 📜) (ConstitutionDAO) November 19 2021
According to the statement, the number of contributors reached 17,437 donors, with an average donation size of $206.26.
Although the group raised $47 million or 11.6000 in cryptocurrency Ether, it lost the sale because it did not have enough reserves needed to maintain and take care of the coin.
The money was raised on crowdfunding site Juicebox. ConstitutionDAO said participants would get their money back minus the alleged gas fees needed to process the transaction.
If they win the bid, those who donated the money will become members of the DAO but will not have a stake in the document, according to the ConstitutionDAO website.
“It is fitting that we use this technology to honor and protect the greatest historical instrument of human governance: the United States Constitution,” the site said.
The document is one of only 13 copies of the official version of the Constitution surviving from a print of 500 issued for presentation to the Continental Congress and for use by delegates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, according to Sotheby’s.
The auction house said the winning bid was $41 million, with a final price of $43.2 million totaling additional expenses and other fees.