'Frankenstein' First Edition Lands Over $1M; Constitution Could Bring Record $15M at Upcoming Auction

  • September 19, 2021 21:05

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An extremely rare official first-edition printed copy of the U.S. Constitution as adopted by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, to be sold by Sotheby’s in November.
Sotheby's

A first edition copy of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" brought $1.17 million at a Christie's auction in New York.

Estimated to fetch between $200,000-300,000, the classic soared to a record price for a published work by a woman.

The copy was one of 500 that Shelley published anonymously in 1818.

Another major printed work is coming to auction this fall. Philanthropist Dorothy Tapper Goldman is offering up a rare first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution, the last one known to be in private hands.

One of 11 surviving copies, the lot has an estimate of $15 million–$20 million in Sotheby's November sale. The copy will tour in Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas ahead of the sale. It last sold in 1988 for $165,000.

“It would have belonged to either a member of the Continental Congress or to one of the delegates to the Continental Convention,” Selby Kiffer, an international senior specialist in Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department, told The Associated Press. “Those were the only people who had access to this first printing. Your eye is immediately drawn to that first line, ‘We the people of the United States.’”

Proceeds from the sale will benefit the consignor's charitable foundation established in her name to further the public's understanding of democracy, according to Sotheby's.

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