A rare copy of “The Federalist” owned by a National Guard Captain, soon to be deployed to Iraq, blew past all estimates to sell for $95,600 (including buyer’s premium) this week in an online auction conducted by Heritage Auctions. The 1788 first edition of volume one of the two-volume collection of 85 articles advocates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It was auctioned on behalf of Indiana soldier, Nathan Harlan, 35, who purchased the book for $7 at a South Bend flea market as a junior in high school.
The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, and outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government.
All of the articles appeared under the pseudonym “Publius,” in honor of Roman consul Publius Valerius Publicola and published just months after the Constitution was drafted in September 1787 in Philadelphia. Fifty-one of the articles in the two-volume set were written by Alexander Hamilton, 29 articles by James Madison and five articles by John Jay.
Volume One contains 227-pages. It was estimated to sell for $8,000-$12,000, with an outside estimate of $20,000-$30,000.
Heritage is waiving its 20 percent commission in honor of Captain Nathan’s service. He is a member of the 38th Combat Aviation Brigade.