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    One of only two known copies of the official edition of the US Constitution in private hands – the First Printing of the Final Text of the Constitution – will come to auction at Sotheby’s in New York on December 13. One of just 13 copies known to exist, The Adrian Van Sinderen Constitution Is estimated at $20/30 million. This follows the historic November 2021 sale at Sotheby’s of the Goldman Constitution, the other privately owned copy, which made $43.2 million and established a new record for any book, manuscript, or printed text sold at auction.

    It last appeared at auction in Philadelphia in 1894, as part of the legendary collection of Charles Colcock Jones, a Georgia lawyer, politician, and amateur historian. The Constitution was acquired as a gift for the young Adrian Van Sinderen (1887-1963) and spurred his early interest in American history and book collecting. Van Sinderen later received encouragement from from his wife’s uncle, William Augustus White, one of the titans of American bibliophily. Van Sinderen himself became one of the most accomplished, if now little recognised, book collectors of the mid-twentieth century.

    235 years ago, America’s Founding Fathers signed the United States Constitution at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, marking the formation of the country’s most significant and lasting document—as well as the longest continuing charter of government in the world. 

    UPDATE: Just hours before the sale Sotheby’s called it off, citing institutional interest in the manuscript. The sale was postponed after consultation with the seller to provide interested institutional investors more time to pursue fundraising efforts.

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