Bidders had a unique opportunity yesterday to own an original piece of Americana during an auction held in Washington last night by the acclaimed Sotheby’s company. Although the much-anticipated feature item of last night’s event, attended by some of the world’s richest power players and heads of state, was originally valuated as priceless, it failed to attract any bids, even at the minimum price, set histrionically, at one dollar.
The auction was the brainchild of the US Treasury Department, carried out in an attempt to raise funds to help pay off some of the mounting national debt, estimated now in excess of $14 trillion. It was believed, months prior to this week’s events in Libya, that a sale of some of the country’s most treasured artifacts, which would include the original United States Constitution, could generate enough revenue to put a harness on the skyrocketing debt. However it became clear that with the final report of the gavel, and the decision of “no sale” returned, that the debt would have to wait.
When asked about the Treasury’s inability to auction off the Constitution, US Secretary of the Treasury and 1998 Michael Flatley look-a-like-contest runner-up Timothy Geithner, responded by saying, “Well obviously it’s disappointing that this nation’s founding document failed to generate any interest at auction this evening. Unfortunately it had to happen this way, but I think we at the Treasury Department have learned a valuable lesson tonight in the difference between cost and worth.”
The Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren, after being asked about the financial soundness of holding an auction as a way to escape debt, morosely stated, “Next time we try selling a piece of American culture to the highest bidder, let’s auction something people are looking to buy, like Silly Bandz.”
Sotheby’s is holding the Constitution in escrow until the $50,000 cost of the auction is paid back.