Ken Griffin Bested ConstitutionDAO in Auction for Constitution


In the battle for the Constitution, the traditionalist beat out the insurgents.

Ken Griffin, the chief executive of the hedge fund Citadel, was the winner of an auction for a rare original copy of the U.S. Constitution, Sotheby’s, the host of the auction, said Friday. He beat a group of cryptocurrency fans known as ConstitutionDAO, whose bid set off a frenzy of memes, jokes and financial pledges. But ultimately they couldn’t top Mr. Griffin’s $43.2 million offer.

The winning bid was more than double the $20 million the item was originally estimated to go for. Sotheby’s said the sale set a record for a book, manuscript, historical document or printed text.

“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all those who aspire to be,” Mr. 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.”

The first museum to display this copy of the Constitution will be Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., which was founded by the Walmart heiress Alice Walton.

“We are honored to exhibit one of the most important documents in our nation’s history from our location in the heartland of America,” the chair of the museum’s board, Olivia Walton, said in a statement.

Mr. Griffin, who has a net worth of about $21 billion, according to Forbes, is accustomed to breaking records. He broke a real estate record in 2019 when he closed on his purchase of a Manhattan penthouse at 220 Central Park South for $238 million.

He also has been forthcoming about his concerns regarding cryptocurrency. “I worry that some of this passion has been misplaced when it comes to cryptocurrencies,” he told the New York Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook conference earlier this month.

Kevin Roose contributed reporting.

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