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Rare US Constitution original copy to be auctioned in December

An original copy of the US Constitution — one of only two known to be in private hands — will be auctioned off in December with bidding estimated to go as high as $30 million, Sotheby’s announced Tuesday.

Five hundred first printings were made of the US Constitution’s final text and provided to participants at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin, but almost all have been lost to history.

Of the 13 that are known to have remained, 11 are owned by governments and institutions.

Last year, one of the two privately held copies was bought for $43.2 million by US hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, who outbid a group of 17,000 cryptocurrency investors who had raised $40 million to try to buy the document, vowing to exhibit it in the public digital domain.

Griffin’s purchase, which he has since lent for display at a free public museum, set a record for the highest price ever paid for a historical document at auction, according to Sotheby’s.

The second copy will be auctioned off on December 13 for up to $30 million dollars, but bidding could soar even higher, according to Richard Austin, an expert in manuscripts and old books at Sotheby’s New York auction house.

Austin told AFP he would “like to see another private individual or perhaps a group being responsible for the care of this very important document.”

The artifact will be on public display at Sotheby’s New York starting on November 4.

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