An extremely rare official first-edition printed copy of the U.S. Constitution, as adopted by America’s founding fathers at a convention in Philadelphia in 1787, will be put up for bid by Sotheby’s in mid-November, the auction house announced on Friday. 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. The debate on what the Constitution would say was over with this document. The debate about whether the Constitution was going to be adopted was just beginning,” Selby Kiffer, an international senior specialist in Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department, told The Associated Press.
“This was the Constitution, but it didn’t take effect until it had been debated and ratified. So this was the first step in the process of us living now under this 234-year-old document,” he said of the document created during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia.
The Constitution’s first printing is considerably rarer than even the first edition of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, Sotheby’s said.
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 U.S. democracy and how the acts of all citizens can make a difference.
“The Goldman Constitution ranks as one of the most rare and coveted historical documents that has ever come to auction,” Selby Kiffer, senior specialist in Sotheby’s books & manuscripts department, said in a statement.
Learn more about the auction here at Sothebys.com