Billionaire Ken Griffin Outbids Group Of Crypto Investors For Rare Copy Of U.S. Constitution


Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin bought a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution for $43 million—outbidding a group of cryptocurrency investors in a record-setting auction Thursday, Sotheby’s announced in a press release.

Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel.

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Key Facts

The “extremely rare” first-edition copy of the Constitution sold for more than double its $20 million high estimate, setting a world auction record for any printed document, according to Sotheby’s.

Ken Griffin, who founded and runs Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, came out on top in an eight minute-long bidding war with his winning bid of $43.2 million on Thursday. 

The hedge fund billionaire was narrowly underbid by ConstitutionDAO, a group of more than 17,000 crypto investors who raised $40 million in an effort to purchase the document.

The copy in question was one of the last first editions still privately owned and is one of just 13 surviving copies of the Official Edition of the Constitution printed in 1787. 

Griffin said that he intends to loan the copy of the Constitution to the free-admission Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which is owned by Walmart billionaire 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,” said Olivia Walton, who is head of the Crystal Bridges board.

Key Background:

Griffin started Citadel in 1990; today the hedge fund has nearly $40 billion of assets under management. The Chicago billionaire also founded one of Wall Street’s biggest market-making firms, Citadel Securities, which is responsible for one of every five stock trades in America. Griffin will add the Constitution to his already impressive art collection which includes pieces by Willem de Kooning and Edgar Degas.

Big Number: $20.9 Billion

That’s how much Griffin is worth, according to Forbes’ estimates.

Crucial Quote:

“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American,” 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.”