Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin is the new owner of a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution—beating out the unlikely runner up, crypto collective ConstitutionDAO.
On Thursday evening, the Citadel CEO placed the winning bid in a $43.2 million auction to acquire what is one of the 13 surviving original copies of the U.S. Constitution. Griffin, a well-known art collector who sits on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, now plans to loan the artifact to the free-admission Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton.
“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be,” Griffin said in a statement. “That is why I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces.”
In pursuit of the winning bid, Griffin found himself caught in lockstep with an unlikely competitor: ConstitutionDAO. The group, whose name is partially derived from the jargony term that describes it, “decentralized autonomous organization”, is made up of crypto enthusiasts, software developers, and even celebrities like Grimes. The collective had managed to raise more than $40 million from some 17,000 donors to finance a bid for the document. Sotheby’s, which handled the auction, had put a high estimate of $20 million on the copy. Bidding lasted eight minutes as the two sides went back and forth on the price, before Griffin prevailed.
Ultimately, the sale turned out to be what Sotheby’s called the highest price ever paid at auction for a book, manuscript, or printed text.
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