George Washington’s Constitution Sells for Nearly $10 Million

Friday, 22 Jun 2012 03:43 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
George Washington’s copy of a book containing the Constitution with his annotations and legislative actions taken by the new U.S. Congress sold for nearly $10 million at Christie’s in New York on Friday.

The sale set a record for a Washington document, far exceeding the presale top estimate of $3 million.

Ann Bookout, regent of the board of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which owns and operates Washington’s historic home, placed the winning bid of $9.8 millioin, beating about half a dozen hopefuls in the room and on the phone.

“We are thrilled to bring this extraordinary book that belonged to George Washington back to Mount Vernon where it belongs,” Bookout said in a press conference following the sale.

The book will be the centerpiece of Washington’s new presidential library, Bookout said, adding that it will open in 2013.

Washington received the 106-page volume in 1789, his first year in office as U.S. president. It recorded the momentous first session of Congress, March 4 to Sept. 29 that year, and includes the ratified Constitution, the draft Bill of Rights and acts establishing the executive, state, judiciary and treasury departments.

“There was an enormous number of acts passed,” said Ron Chernow, author of “Washington: A Life,” in a telephone interview. “The Constitution is a short document and very vague. The first Congress was busy putting flesh on the bones.”

The title page has Washington’s large signature and on another page is a bookplate bearing his motto, “Exitus acta probat” (“the end justifies the deed”), and his family coat of arms.

Washington put brackets around key passages concerning the president’s responsibilities and wrote the words “President” and “powers” in the margin.

“He was trying to figure out what was his power, what was the Congress’s power,” Chernow said. “Washington knew that as the first president, he would be the first person to be implementing the Constitution. He was so eager to get it right and so anxious not to get it wrong.”

The book comes from the estate of H. Richard Dietrich Jr., a collector of Americana, who bought it at auction for $27,000 in 1964. It had previously belonged to Washington’s nephew Bushrod Washington and William Randolph Hearst.

The previous record for a Washington document was his 1787 letter to his nephew on the ratification of the Constitution, which sold for $3.2 million in 2009.

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Social Security Spent $300M on Computer 'Boondoggle'

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 15:07 PM

The Social Security Administration has spent nearly $300 million over six years on a new computer system that is riddled . . .

Hollywood's Own Horror Show: Summer Movie Season Worst in Years

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 13:44 PM

Hollywood studios are in a state of near-financial panic over the dismal performance of American-made films this summer. . . .

Supreme Court Likely to Deal With Obamacare Subsidies Next Year

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 11:56 AM

With the White House and most of official Washington still reeling from the back-to-back contradictory Obamacare rulings . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved