George Washington US constitution sets new world record at $9.8m

George Washington's personal copy of the Acts of Congress, featuring his own annotations on the US constitution, set a new world record at Christie's on June 22.

Following its $9.8m sale in New York, the work has now become the most valuable American book or historic document ever sold at auction. The dazzling sale represents an impressive 226.6% increase on the book's initial $2-3m valuation.

The spectacular sale also toppled the previous record for a Washington document at auction, which was set in 2009 by a letter Washington sent to his nephew, which achieved $3.2m.

The incredible significance of Washington's Acts of Congress warranted a dedicated auction from Christie's, where it starred as the only lot. The magnificent work - a finely bound, gold embossed volume - not only contained handwritten margin notes from the president but also a bold signature on the title page and the Washington family coat of arms.  

It took just four minutes for the work to climb from its starting bid of $1.3m to the winning amount, with the final bid placed by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association of the Union, a non-profit organisation that owns the museum at George Washington's Virginia home. The book will now return to the Mount Vernon library, where it was previously housed until 1876.

The work came from the estate of Americana collector Richard Dietrich, who had bought it in 1964.  

For more information about this stunning discovery, read Paul Fraser Collectibles' preview here.

Now is an exciting time for rare manuscript collectors, as Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation expects strong results tomorrow (June 26) in New York. While the current focus remains on American documents at auction, Paul Fraser Collectibles argues that English manuscripts offer the best buy for investors. Find out why here.

As America's first president and undoubtedly one of the best-loved, George Washington memorabilia always sells with excellent results at auction. For your chance to invest in his profitable legacy, Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering this fantastic autographed lottery ticket from the president as well as an authentic strand of his hair.

Find out more about investing in autographs here.


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