Billionaire Ken Griffin Outbids Group Of Crypto Investors For Rare Copy Of U.S. Constitution

Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin bought a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution for $43 million—outbidding a group of cryptocurrency investors in a record-setting auction Thursday, Sotheby’s announced in a press release.

Key Facts

The “extremely rare” first-edition copy of the Constitution sold for more than double its $20 million high estimate, setting a world auction record for any printed document, according to Sotheby’s.

Ken Griffin, who founded and runs Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, came out on top in an eight minute-long bidding war with his winning bid of $43.2 million on Thursday.

The hedge fund billionaire was narrowly underbid by ConstitutionDAO, a group of more than 17,000 crypto investors who raised $40 million in an effort to purchase the document.

The copy in question was one of the last first editions still privately owned and is one of just 13 surviving copies of the Official Edition of the Constitution printed in 1787.

Griffin said that he intends to loan the copy of the Constitution to the free-admission Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which is owned by Walmart billionaire heiress Alice Walton.

“We are honored to exhibit one of the most important documents in our nation’s history from our location in the Heartland of America,” said Olivia Walton, who is head of the Crystal Bridges board.

Key Background:

Griffin started Citadel in 1990; today the hedge fund has nearly $40 billion of assets under management. The Chicago billionaire also founded one of Wall Street’s biggest market-making firms, Citadel Securities, which is responsible for one of every five stock trades in America. Griffin will add the Constitution to his already impressive art collection which includes pieces by Willem de Kooning and Edgar Degas.

Big Number: $20.9 Billion

That’s how much Griffin is worth, according to Forbes’ estimates.

Crucial Quote:

“The U.S. Constitution is a sacred document that enshrines the rights of every American,” Griffin said in a statement. “That is why I intend to ensure that this copy of our Constitution will be available for all Americans and visitors to view and appreciate in our museums and other public spaces.”

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Source: Billionaire Ken Griffin Outbids Group Of Crypto Investors For Rare Copy Of U.S. Constitution

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Critics:

A hedge fund is a pooled investment fund that trades in relatively liquid assets and is able to make extensive use of more complex trading, portfolio-construction and risk management techniques in an attempt to improve performance, such as short selling, leverage, and derivatives. Financial regulators generally restrict hedge fund marketing to institutional investors, high net worth individuals and others who are considered sufficiently sophisticated.

Hedge funds are considered alternative investments. Their ability to use leverage and more complex investment techniques distinguishes them from regulated investment funds available to the retail market, commonly known as mutual funds and ETFs. They are also considered distinct from private-equity funds and other similar closed-end funds, as hedge funds generally invest in relatively liquid assets, and are usually open-ended.

This means they allow investors to invest and withdraw capital periodically based on the fund’s net asset value, whereas private-equity funds generally invest in illiquid assets and only return capital after a number of years. However, other than a fund’s regulatory status there are no formal or fixed definitions of fund types, and so there are different views of what can constitute a “hedge fund.”

Although hedge funds are not subject to the many restrictions applicable to regulated funds, regulations were passed in the United States and Europe following the financial crisis of 2007–2008 with the intention of increasing government oversight of hedge funds and eliminating certain regulatory gaps.

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