Christie's on Friday said it sold at auction a book that contains an annotate copy of the US Constitution belonging to George Washington, the first US president, for nearly $10 million.
After an intense bidding war with an unidentified party, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, charged with the preservation of Washington's residence just outside the US capital, purchased the book.
The manuscript sold for $9.82 million, more than three times the asking price of $2 to $3 million, Christie's said.
The 106-page book is bound in white leather and was printed for Washington in 1789. The US founding father signed the document's first page.
The transcript of the Constitution features several parentheses and notes on the margins.
"It's an exciting day. We are thrilled to be able to bring this extraordinary book back to Mount Vernon where it belongs," Association spokesperson Ann Bookout told reporters.
The book was at Mount Vernon after the president's death in 1799, and remained there for some 50 years until it was auctioned off in 1876.
The manuscript was again auctioned in 1976 to collector Richard Dietrich, whose inheritors again put the book on the auction block.
The book is "coming back to Mount Vernon where it belongs," Bookout said. "This document has his (Washington's) handwriting. It existed in his library when he died. It was in his library where it remained for about 50 years."
Bookout said that this is the most expensive purchase in Mount Vernon history.
The Association receives no government subsidy, and the purchase relied solely on "patriotic Americans who are supporting us," Bookout said.
The document will be put on display at the George Washington Library, which Mount Vernon plans to open in early 2013, Bookout said.