Tue, 26 Oct 2021

NEW YORK CITY, New York: Auction house Sotheby's announced that it will auction a rare first-edition printed copy of the U.S. Constitution in mid-November.

The upcoming sale of the document will take place on the 234th anniversary of its signing by delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

The document was last sold for $165,000 in 1988 to the late New York real estate developer and private collector S. Howard Goldman, but it is now valued at between $15 to $20 million.

The auction house said Goldman's wife, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, is offering the document for sale, and all proceeds will be donated to her charitable foundation that seeks to increase the public's understanding of democracy.

The document is one of only 11 known copies of the Constitution to exist and is the only one left in private ownership, Sotheby's added.

The original 500 copies from the document's first printing bearing no signatures were also given to delegates at the Constitutional Convention, with two surviving copies being housed at the Library of Congress.

The Constitution's first printed edition is considerably rarer than even the first edition of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, Sotheby's stressed.

Only seven original articles that established the framework of the U.S. national government and its powers were printed, while the Bill of Rights, consisting of the first 10 amendments added to the Constitution in 1791, are not included.

Although not signed, the six-page document for sale includes a list of the Constitutional Convention delegates who attested to its adoption in 1787, as well as a letter of submission from George Washington to the Continental Congress.

"The Goldman Constitution ranks as one of the most rare and coveted historical documents that will ever be auctioned," noted Selby Kiffer, senior specialist at Sotheby's Books and Manuscripts Department.

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