Crypto group loses bid to buy rare US Constitution copy in 'record breaking' Sotheby's auction

Sotheby's said Thursday night that a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution was sold for $43.2 million at auction -- but unfortunately, the win did not go to a week-in-the-making community that raised tens of millions of dollars for just this purpose.

Organizer Julian Weisser confirmed the loss amid a chaotic online viewing party both on social media as well as the ConstitutionDAO Discord, during which some reports indicated that the crypto group had actually won. 

"We did not win the bid for the copy of the U.S. [C]institution," Weisser wrote. "While this wasn’t the outcome we hoped for, we still made history tonight with ConstitutionDAO. This is the largest crowdfund for a physical object that we are aware of—crypto or fiat. We are so incredibly grateful to have done this together with you all and are still in shock that we even got this far."


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The sometimes hasty-appearing effort drew its share of supporters and critics in the past week. The pace of donations gathered steam in the run-up to the auction date. According to Weisser, "[w]e had 17,437 donors, with a median donation size of $206.26. A significant percentage of these donations came from wallets that were initialized for the first time." The group raised about $47 million in total. 

Looking ahead, the group will begin processing refunds -- minus the cost of transacting on the Ethereum network -- to participants.

"You will be able to get a refund of your pro rata amount (effectively minus gas fees) through Juicebox," Weisser wrote. "Please expect more details from us about this tomorrow – our team has not slept in the past week, and we are giving people the night to get some rest before we’re back at it tomorrow AM."