Ken Griffin Buys Copy of US Constitution After Bidding War With Crypto Traders

Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Citadel, was revealed on Friday as the buyer of a rare first impression of the US constitution, beating an impromptu collective of cryptocurrency traders with a $43.2 million payout .

The document was the subject of a nearly eight-minute auction on Thursday at Sotheby’s in New York, where Griffin faced off against more than 17,000 cryptocurrency traders who had banded together to try to fund a crowd buy. .

The price won represented a record for a manuscript or book sold at auction, according to Sotheby’s. It is one of 11 known copies of the 234-year-old document and the only one privately owned.

“The American Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American and all who aspire to be,” Griffin said.

Griffin said he would loan the constitution to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which was built in 2011 by Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune. The free museum location in Bentonville, Arkansas is also the headquarters of the American retailer.

“I intend to ensure that this copy of our constitution is available for all Americans and visitors to view and enjoy in our museums and other public spaces,” he said. declared.

Griffin paid more than double the pre-sale estimate of $15-20 million for the constitution, beating out a group called “ConstitutionDAO”, the cryptocurrency collective that organized online to bid on the document. The campaign, launched on Nov. 11, received a median cryptocurrency donation of $206 from members, according to a post after the loss.

“We memorized that in reality. We made history,” the collective wrote on Twitter after the auction.

Chicago-based Citadel is one of the world’s largest hedge funds with approximately $34 billion in assets under management. Griffin also founded the largest stock market maker in the United States, known as Citadel Securities.

Citadel Securities’ pivotal role in the US stock markets put it in the spotlight during frantic trading in GameStop shares earlier this year. Griffin was called to testify before Congress about the upheaval.

Griffin, whose Forbes personal fortune is estimated at around $21 billion, has become an avid collector of high-profile works of art. He previously bought a Jean-Michel Basquiat for $100m last year and spent a record $300m on a Willem de Kooning in 2015.

He is also outspoken in American politics and a top donor to Republican candidates.

At a panel earlier this month, Griffin announced plans to do ‘everything’ to support a candidate who could defeat the current Democratic governor of his home state of Illinois, fellow billionaire JB Pritzker. , in 2022.

Laura J. Boyer