A hand-annotated personal version of the U.S. Constitution owned by George Washington is returning to Mount Vernon, after a record auction in New York City.
A bidder spent $10 million on the folio, which had Washington’s personal notes on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
After the auction, it turned out that bidder was the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which operates Washington’s home.
“We are thrilled to bring this extraordinary book that belonged to George Washington back to Mount Vernon where it belongs,” said Ann Bookout at a press conference following the sale.
Bookout is a regent for the board. She said the book will be the centerpiece of a new library at Mount Vernon.
The folio had been on a long path since leaving Washington’s former library at Mount Vernon. At one time, it belonged to William Randolph Hearst, and it wound up with a collector outside Philadelphia, H. Richard Dietrich Jr.
Dietrich paid $27,000 for the folio in 1964.
Christie’s had expected it to go for $3 million at auction. Instead, it went to Mount Vernon for $9.8 million after a bidding war broke out.
The book had been at Mount Vernon originally and was sold in 1876 at an estate auction in Philadelphia for Washington’s nephew’s son, Lawrence Washington.
The folio surfaced again in 1892 when it was bought for $1,150 at another auction.