Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin outbid ConstitutionDAO, a group of 17,000 crypto enthusiasts who raised $ 47 million but not enough to guarantee the document would be maintained and preserved.
A rare first impression of the United States Constitution sold at Sotheby’s in New York on Thursday night for $ 43.2 million – the highest price ever at auction for a landmark document – to a buyer who beat a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who always claimed a victory for crowdfunding.
On Friday afternoon, a Sotheby’s spokesperson identified the buyer as entrepreneur 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 US Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all who aspire to be,” Griffin said in a statement. “I am delighted that the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which still offers free admission, is the first venue to present our country’s founding document.”
The first edition of the Constitution – one of 13 surviving privately owned copies – sold for more than double Sotheby’s top estimate range of $ 20 million. The winning auction also marked a strong appreciation of the $ 165,000 that the document 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 created by Goldman’s widow, Dorothy.
The sale was being watched closely not only for the historical significance of the document, but also for the hype surrounding a cryptocurrency crowdfunding group, ConstitutionDAO.
As the auction neared, the group broke records for the most participatory money 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.
“While not the outcome we hoped for, we still made history tonight,” the group said in a statement on Twitter. “We’ve educated a whole cohort of people around the world – from museum curators and art directors to our grandmothers asking us what ‘eth’ is when they read about us in the news – about the possibilities. of web3 “, we read in the note.
– ConstitutionDAO (📜, 📜) (@ConstitutionDAO) November 19, 2021
According to the release, there were 17,437 backers with a median donation size of $ 206.26.
Although the group raised $ 47 million or 11,600 of Ether cryptocurrency, it lost the sale because it did not have sufficient reserves to maintain and maintain the coin.
The funds were raised on the crowdfunding site Juicebox. ConstitutionDAO said the participants would get their money back minus the gasoline fee needed to process the transaction.
If they had won the offer, those who donated funds would have become members of the DAO but would have no interest in the document, according to the ConstitutionDAO website.
“It is fitting that we use this technology to honor and protect the greatest historical tool of human governance: the Constitution of the United States,” the website said.
The document is one of only 13 copies of the official edition of the Constitution to survive a circulation of 500 issued for submission to the Continental Congress and for the use of delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, according to Sotheby’s.
The winning bid was $ 41 million with a final price of $ 43.2 million totaling overhead and other expenses, the auction house said.