Sotheby’s Announces First Impression of Incorporation in Private Hands | Estimate $ 20 million
Sold for the benefit of the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, the Constitution will be offered at an evening auction at Sotheby’s sales in November.
Exactly 234 years since America’s Founding Fathers signed the country’s most important and enduring document – Sotheby’s announced a copy of the official edition of the Constitution, the first printing of the final text of the Constitution as a highlight of Sotheby’s Evening sales in November in New York City, marking the first time that a manuscript or historical document will be featured at an art auction.
Offered with an estimate of $ 15-20 million, the extremely rare document – now the longest governing charter in the world – is one of 11 known copies of the official print produced for delegates to the Constitutional Convention and for the Continental Congress. It is the only copy of the first impression of the Constitution that remains in private hands.
The Constitution is proposed from the collection of Dorothy Tapper Goldman, and after the evening auction, an additional group of around 80 constitutional and related documents will be offered at a dedicated live auction in November in New York City. Immediately after the live auction closes, a final group of rare works will be featured in an unqualified online sale, open for auction from November 23 to December 2.
All proceeds from the sale of the collection will benefit Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting a better understanding of our democracy and how the actions of all citizens can make a difference. By providing strategic grants, the Foundation hopes to advance understanding of our constitutional principles.
The Constitution and selected highlights of the additional sales will be on display to the public at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from today through September 19. The first impression of the Constitution will be presented in Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, before returning to New York this fall.
Selby kiffer, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department said, “The Goldman Constitution is one of the rarest and most coveted historical documents ever to be auctioned. We are honored to present to the public this incredibly important impression of Constitution which coincides with Constitution Day, which only reinforces Ms. Goldman’s long-standing commitment to supporting civic education.
On a personal note, I managed the sale of this same document in 1988; I’ve kept an eye on it ever since, and it’s very exciting to see it return to theaters over three decades later. Presenting a document of this importance at an auction at the Sotheby’s sales last November highlights how critical the Constitution remains as a fundamental source for our understanding of democracy and the American spirit, which will always have a universal appeal that transcends categories.
David galperin, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Americas, said: “A document as important and meaningful as the Constitution deserves to be featured on the world’s largest auction stage, and we are proud to offer this incredibly rare and special as part of our November evening sales in New York. A testament to its universal appeal to collectors of all categories across the globe, we are delighted to mark a major milestone as the first time that a manuscript or historical document will appear in a works of art auction.
Mrs. Dorothy Tapper Goldman, collector, educator and philanthropist, commented: “This Constitution was one of my husband, Howard’s dearest possessions. When this happened to me, I felt an incredible sense of responsibility to take care of her, to share her and to promote the constitutional principles of our nation. The first impression of the Constitution also inspired me to expand my collection to other foundational documents, including those recording the debates on the ratification of the new charter and the need for a bill of rights.
The Collection also includes many other constitutions, including at least one for each State of the Union. I am also happy to have exhibited these important documents in various institutions across America. Through the sale of the collection, we look forward to continuing to contribute to our civic education mission and to a better understanding of the founding documents. “
The official edition of the Constitution: the first impression of the final text of the Constitution
“Constitutions set out the basic rights that should be enjoyed by all who reside in the United States of America. These rights are the hallmark of our nation. – Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Foreword by Settlers, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic
As relevant and contemporary as it was in 1787, and still hotly debated, the Constitution gave effect to the promise of the Declaration of Independence and marks the final step in our country’s transformation from British settlers to Americans.
In February 1787, following the inconclusive Annapolis Convention of the previous year, the Continental Congress demanded that a convention meet in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation, the country’s first national charter, largely ineffective. Gathered in secret, the delegates, chaired by George washington, instead drafted a whole new Constitution. Two first “draft” versions were printed for the Detail and Style Committees for discussion and review.
After four months of work, the final text was approved and printed for submission to the Continental Congress, with copies distributed to delegates to the Constitutional Convention for use at their discretion. This “official edition” is the first impression of the final text of the Constitution. Approximately 500 copies printed by John dunlap and David claypoole, the official printers of the Convention, only 11 copies are now known, and of these, only the Goldman copy is in private hands.
The official edition also prints the accompanying resolutions of Congress and its letter, on behalf of George washington, to Congress submitting the Constitution for consideration.
The first impression of the Constitution of the United States is considerably rarer than the first impression of the Declaration of Independence, one of the few documents in history to which it can be compared in terms of importance and influence.
Unique in that it emphasizes the constitutions of governmental and civic organizations, the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Collection truly brings history to life, tracing America’s rich history and its endless journey to achieve a “more perfect union” and allowing us to use documents from the past to interpret our nation’s history and inform our to come up.
As the collector said, “All of our important American documents were written by ordinary citizens who were sufficiently committed to their new country to participate in its development. Our republic was an experiment of hope, assembled by men who knew more about what they did not want from a government than what it could be. Ms. Goldman began collecting from a young age and developed a passion for large-scale collecting, including Native American baskets, Chinese artwork, Ming furniture, modern designs, and much more, but the Constitution has long occupied a prominent place. among its many collections.
This document was released in 1988 from a private collector in Philadelphia and was sold at Sotheby’s that same year for $ 165,000 when acquired by Mrs. Goldman’s last husband, S. Howard Goldman. He stayed in the Goldman collection since. Despite Goldman’s commitment to philanthropy and education, this edition of the constitution was loaned to the New York Historical Society, New York, the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, United States Supreme Court, National Constitution Center, Museum of the American Revolution, and more over the past 30 years, it has remained in their collection.
The document helped form the centerpiece of the Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, which showcased the significant holdings of Goldman’s collection of important American documents.