Bonhams first NFT sale, CryptOGs: The Pioneers of NFT Art, in partnership with SuperRare, the authentic Digital Art Market, achieved a total of $451,688. The sale, which was the world’s first curated collaboration between a digital art platform and an auction house, took place on bonhams.com between 21-30 June. The top lot was The Death of Cash by XCOPY, which sold for $200,313, whilst works by Coldie and Sarah Zucker achieved new record USD prices for the artists at auction.
Bonhams Head of Digital Art, Nima Sagharchi, commented: “As the first-ever auction exploring the originators of the crypto art movement – those who were minting NFTs before they were in the global spotlight – we are thrilled with the results of this sale, and to have shone a light on the pioneers of this movement. It has been a pleasure to work with SuperRare on this, one of the original platforms for the promotion of digital art. Bonhams has a tradition of recontextualising underexamined art movements and we’re proud to have offered the first historical appraisal of the movement.”
SuperRare Art & Cultural Program Director, An Rong, commented: “We decided to go back to the roots of CryptoArt and picked a theme honouring the originators of the art movement. We used this opportunity to shine a light on how CryptoArt started and bridge CryptoArt to the next chapter of contemporary art history. Bonhams understands the importance of contextualizing NFTs from the perspectives of CryptoArt natives and were keen to establish art historic narratives around CryptoArt as an art movement. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this sale and the fantastic results achieved suggest that this auction will form the basis for a meaningful conversation about the place of CryptoArt within the wider art world.”
The top lot of the sale was The Death of Cash by XCOPY, which sold for $200,313. The work is a playful take on a theme prevalent in much of the OG’s work: the predicted decline of fiat currency. London-based XCOPY was the second ever artist to mint on the SuperRare platform, and in March 2021 his work Death Dip broke the SuperRare sales record when it sold for 1000 ETH (now circa $2.5 million).
Another leading lot was Proof Of Work – Genesis, by Coldie, (conceived in 2018, minted in 2021), which sold for $100,313 – a new record USD price for the artist at auction. The work is a revival of one of the artist’s very first tokens, the original having been “burnt” in 2019, and is inspired by parallels between the 19th Century Gold Rush in Coldie’s native California and the current zeal for crypto mining.
Other highlights from the sale include:
- Alotta Money (B. 1972), Pauline at the Mall 2021. The French cyberdelic digital artist is known for his so called “nonsense attacks” and visual desecration of well-known old masters and classical artworks. The work sold for $37,813.
- Matt Kane (B. 1980), M87 Black Hole Deconstruction #9, sold for $62,813.
- Sarah Zucker (B. 1985), Space Loaf, conceived in 2018 minted in 2021 sold for $37,813. A new record USD price for the artist at auction.
Founded in 2017 by John Crain, Charles Crain, and Jonathan Perkins, SuperRare is an online, peer-to-peer marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), most notably Cryptoart, built on the Ethereum blockchain. It was created as a social environment for buying and selling artwork with a goal of reinventing art collecting for the digital age.