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One of Only 11 Early Copies of Constitution Up for Auction

Sotheby's says it may fetch $20M
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2021 10:58 AM CDT
One of Only 11 Early Copies of Constitution Up for Auction
This photo made available by the National Archives shows a portion of the first page of the United States Constitution.   (National Archives via AP)

(Newser) – A very special birth certificate will be auctioned off later this year—a rare copy of the US Constitution. Sotheby's announced Friday (appropriately on Constitution Day) that in November it will put up for auction one of just 11 surviving copies of the Constitution from the official first printing produced for delegates to the Constitutional Convention and for the Continental Congress, per the AP. It's the only copy that remains in private hands and has an estimate of $15 million to $20 million. “This is the final text," says Selby Kiffer of Sotheby’s. "The debate on what the Constitution would say was over with this document." It was printed in 1787, and the Constitution was ratified the following year.

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The document is from the collection of Dorothy Tapper and proceeds from the sale of the collection will benefit the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the understanding of US democracy and how the acts of all citizens can make a difference. “It would have belonged to either a member of the Continental Congress or to one of the delegates to the Continental Convention," says Kiffer. "Those were the only people who had access to this first printing." The document is on public view at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries until Sept. 19 and then travels to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, before returning to New York this fall.

(Read more US Constitution stories.)

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