Bill of Rights Precursor Document Could Fetch $5 Million at Auction This July

  • July 01, 2022 12:53

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This July, Sotheby’s will offer Virginia’s official ratification of the U.S. Constitution, a rare copy which also includes a list of 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, all part of a 13-page document from June 25, 1788, that later helped establish the Bill of Rights.

It is one of only three copies of the document extant. The Sotheby’s auction is on July 21 in New York, with a preview period of July 12-20.

Says Selby Kiffer, Sotheby’s International Senior Specialist for Books & Manuscripts, “This integral document provided a precursor for the Bill of Rights—one of the nation’s three founding documents—and solidified the nation’s future upon Virginia’s ratification.”

A pre-sale estimate of $3 million to $5 million for the document follows the $43.2 million sale last year at Sotheby's for a first-edition copy of the U.S. Constitution. The winning bidder of that lot was billionaire Ken Griffin who beat out an effort by a cryptocurrency group called the ConstitutionDAO. 

Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums, among the largest private manuscript collections in the world, with locations across the U.S. Noted manuscript collector David Karpeles died in Santa Barbara, Calif., in January at age 86.

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