Cryptocurrency group loses bid for rare copy of US Constitution
A group of cryptocurrency fans lost a highly anticipated bid for the rare first printing of the US Constitution at a Sotheby’s auction on Thursday.
The group, ConstitutionDAO, organized a frenzied, week-long online crowdfunding campaign to bid on the artworks, which are one of only 13 copies to exist. It raised more than $40 million for the bidding in less than a week.
According to a Sotheby’s spokesperson, the final sale price was $43.2 million. The identity of the winner was not immediately known. Minutes after ringing, ConstitutionDAO Loss confirmed on Twitter,
“While it was not the result we expected, we made history tonight with ConstitutionDAO,” it said, adding that contributors will be refunded their donations, minus fees.
ConstitutionDAO is known as a decentralized autonomous organization, a new type of conglomerate governed by holders of cryptocurrency tokens and setting their own rules in blockchain-based “smart contracts”. The group was formed last week, and its last-minute effort to raise funds for the auction has become a cause of concern amongst crypto fans online.
The crypto-collective has previously purchased high-value art, including the Wu-Tang Clan album, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” which was bought last month by anonymous investor collective PleasrDAO for $4 million. Had it won the auction, ConstitutionDAO would have been the largest purchase by the DAO, and the first of such a major physical artifact.
The copy of the constitution previously sold by Sotheby’s belonged to Dorothy Goldman, the widow of a New York real estate developer who bought it in 1988 for $165,000. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation, the auction house said.
Thursday night’s auction sparked a frenzy of excitement among ConstitutionDAO participants, with thousands watching a livestream to cheer on the group’s bid. At first, it was unclear whether the winning bidder represented ConstitutionDAO, and several people associated with the group mistakenly claimed victory.
But after the defeat became apparent, the atmosphere in the group’s Discord chat deepened. Some of the participants started making future plans as they talked about getting their money back.
“Okay so we didn’t get the constitution,” wrote one user. “What are we going to bid on now?”
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