Washington letter fetches $1.7m

23:36, Jun 21 2013
Geroge Washington
PRESIDENT: A portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, painted in 1797.

A letter in which George Washington offers his positive views on the newly drafted Constitution has sold for US$1.4 million (NZ$1.7m) in New York.

It was written during the contentious debate over the document's ratification. A private collector offered it for sale at Christie's on Friday.

Christie's said the seven-page letter was purchased by an anonymous phone bidder for US$1,443,750.

Bidding was between the phone bidder and a woman in the room.

Dated April 25, 1788, it is addressed to Revolutionary War Officer John Armstrong.

Washington wrote in the letter that he doubted ''whether the opposition of the Constitution will not ultimately be productive of more good than evil''.

He also said the framers of the Constitution ''have given the rights of man a full and fair discussion''.

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AP