Rare first-edition copy of the US Constitution up for auction

The official first printing of the US Constitution is up for auction next month, New York-based auction house Sotheby’s announced Tuesday. The historic document will be put up for auction during a dedicated live sale on 13 December.

It is one of only two such copies that are in private hands, and only one of 13 total copies extant, Sotheby’s said. The other 11 are in public government collections.

According to Sotheby’s, this is the first time in more than 125 years that this particular manuscript has gone up for auction, which it estimates will sell for anywhere between $20 and $30 million.

It will enter the auction block just a year after Sotheby’s auctioned off the only other privately owned first-edition copy known as the Goldman Constitution. Sotheby’s said it went for $43.2 million last November, a record for any book, manuscript or printed text sold at auction.

Richard Austin, Sotheby’s global head of books and manuscripts, said in a statement that last year’s record sales were evidence of the historical document’s “lasting importance and impact”, adding that there are high hopes for sales of the remaining copy.

“After a year of record-breaking sales, we hope the remarkable opportunity to acquire one of two privately owned copies of the Constitution will inspire a similar reaction to the public’s excited last year,” Austin said.

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