An NFT collector bought a set of nine CryptoPunks for $17 million at New York auction house Christie’s this week, thought to be the second largest NFT deal ever.
The NFTs were tipped to fetch a hefty sum. In fact, expectations of high premiums led to a substantial initial spike in CryptoPunk prices as speculators looked to capitalize on the hype.
Indeed, the sale marked a big payday for CryptoPunk co-creators Matt Hall and John Watkinson — not to mention Christie’s.
- The set of nine CryptoPunks sold for $14.5 million.
- Christie’s generated over $2.4 million in fees.
- Buyer paid $16.96 million in total.
Christie’s soon hailed the auction a massive success; another step toward mainstream acceptance of NFT art.
NFT collectors were told to look out for the CryptoPunks
This particular auction is indeed noteworthy. After all, Beeple’s $69 million collage in March is the only NFT sale to generate more dough.
But not everybody agrees. In a lengthy Twitter thread, NFT guru @gmoneyNFT explained how Christie’s “fucked up the Punks auction.”
The crypto-art buyer visited Christie’s in Rockefeller Center for what the gallery pegged as a pre-auction showcase.
Christie’s had displayed works by renowned artists like Da Vinci, Basquiat, Warhol, and Banksy — and told those in attendance to “look out for the ‘Punks.”
It turns out Christie’s had simply hidden tiny pictures of the artworks around the gallery.
“If I had no idea what a CryptoPunk was walking into the gallery, I sure as hell had no clue when I walked out,” they tweeted.
Does the NFT world need traditional auction houses?
Gmoney went on to question the ability of a hallmark player like Christie’s to hold effective NFT auctions.
“What disappointed me the most is how they (the Punks) were displayed in the gallery,” they told Protos. “Hiding them in the corners with no markings doesn’t really convince me you’re taking them seriously.”
Instead, Christie’s should’ve displayed the CryptoPunks on digital screens, “the way any gallery that’s trying to actually sell some art would.”
“Feature them so that collectors can see and learn more about them if they’re interested,” said gmoney.
In the end, gmoney reasoned the lacklustre experience is partly due to Christie’s inability to handle NFTs. Another part is not wanting to disrupt their current business model.
It’s a new space, said the collector, and mistakes will be made as people attempt to figure NFTs out. “The seller goes to an auction house to find buyers they might not otherwise have and increased publicity.”
“If a legacy institution can’t provide both, I really start to question the need for them in the space,” said gmoney.
Protos has reached out to Christie’s for comment.