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The Great $5 Bill of Rights Robbery

A little history from of one of the most valuable pieces of paper ever written—the Bill of Rights…

The Practical Guide to the United States Constitution
The Practical Guide to the United States Constitution

There were fourteen original copies of the Bill of Rights, one for the federal government and one for each of the 13 original colonies. Only eight states still have their copies: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. One of those only recently reclaimed theirs.

At the end of the Civil War, one of Sherman’s soldiers broke into the Capitol Building and stole the North Carolina copy. He took it home to Ohio and later sold it to a local grain salesman for five dollars. In 2003, the FBI recovered the copy in a sting operation when a collector tried to sell it to the National Constitution Center for the sum of four million dollars. By 2007, after some fancy legal maneuvers, it was returned to North Carolina.

You can find more stories like this one and a crackin’ good primer to the United States Owners’ Manual in The Practical Guide to the United States Constitution.

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