Washington's Copy of Acts of Congress Sells for $9.8 Million at Auction

Photo Courtesy of Christie's
An annotated copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights owed by President George Washington sold for $9,826,500 at Christie’s New York on Friday, June 22, 2012. The selling price sets a new record for an American book or a historical document sold at auction. The world’s premier auction house reported that the signature and notations of Washington are in near-pristine condition 223 years after being executed by the first president of the U.S. 

Bidding opened at $1.3 million for Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress. A rapid, four-minute bidding session led to the winning bid from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. “George Washington’s annotated copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1789) sold for an extraordinary $9,826,500, a world auction record for any American book or historical document," said Chris Coover, senior specialist of books and manuscripts for Christie's, in a statement regarding the event. 

Coover also indicated that a number of the bidders pursued this exceptional item, but in the end the successful bidder was a representative of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union. The association is a non-profit educational organization that owns and operates the historical site and museum of George Washington’s Virginia home.

The auction house also reported that rare books and manuscripts from “respected and revered” U.S. presidents have sold well in recent years. An autographed manuscript of Abraham Lincoln’s victory speech for the 1864 election sold for more than $3.4 million in February 2009, by Christie’s New York. Additionally, a letter autographed by George Washington and sent to his nephew, Bushrod Washington, sold at auction for more than $3.2 million in December 2009. For more information, visit

James Rothaar

As an independent contractor, James has written content for and other leading online luxury lifestyle magazines. Rothaar previously served as the senior-tenured staff writer for JustLuxe, having worked with the digital magazine since 2005. He resides in Jacksonville, Florida, and works as an independent marketing consultant and a freelance writer. James Rothaar has an MBA degree...(Read More)

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