Christie’s will hold a live auction on Oct. 1 featuring a set of 31 Curio Cards and several other prominent non-fungible token (NFT) projects, expanding its foray into digital art sales.
In March, the 254-year-old auction house made history by auctioning off a Beeple NFT for $69 million. As recent buyer appetite for NFTs approaches manic levels, Christie’s Asia branch is now accepting bids for several rare CryptoPunks and Bored Ape NFTs.
Curio Cards, which debuted in May 2017, is widely regarded as the first digital art collectible on the Ethereum blockchain, predating both CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties. The images in the set range from everyday objects (#1 Apples) to reimagined corporate logos (#15 DigitalCash) to intricate black-and-white geometric drawings (#26 Education).
“A true full set of Curio Cards is one of the few holy grails in terms of Ethereum art projects,” said Noah Davis, Christie’s head of digital art. “It’s the first of its kind, even predating Punks.”
Based on current ether prices, the set of 31 numbered cards – including the misprinted #17b – is expected to fetch between 250 and 350 ETH, or between $870,000 and $1.3 million.
According to the Curio Cards website, card #26 is the most rare of the batch.
“There are only 111 of them,” says the narrator. Curio Cards co-founder Travis Uhrig told ULTCOIN365, “Five have been lost.” That brings the total number of possible full sets to 106, one of which will be auctioned off at Christie’s.
Uhrig attributed the misprinted card to a technical error.
“Cards 17, 18, and 19 were all misprinted at first, but there was a mistake that made 18 and 19 unsellable,” Uhrig explained. “In 2017, nobody cared if you had Ethereum test code. We simply re-deployed all three after correcting [the error]. Because [card #17b] is stored on the blockchain, people eventually discovered it. People consider it an essential in a full set, according to the market.”
The auction on Oct. 1 will also be the first time Christie’s live bidding will be denominated in cryptocurrency rather than the usual local currency. The bids, which must be made in ETH, mark a new milestone in Christie’s journey down the crypto rabbit hole.
“I’ve been bidding in auctions on behalf of clients for nearly a decade,” Davis, Christie’s digital art lead, explained. “I’ve placed bids in USD, GBP, and EUR – all fiat currencies. It’s incredible to think I’ll be able to hear the auctioneer call out my bids in ETH. It does not occur.”
Aside from the Curio Cards, the auction will include a second lot of three complete sets of 31 NFTs from the Art Blocks Curated collection. The popular collection is handpicked by Art Blocks, a blockchain startup that assists artists in creating algorithmically generated art.
The current floor price of an Art Blocks Curated piece on the NFT marketplace OpenSea is 1.7 ETH, or approximately $5,900.
“Both Art Blocks and the artists involved are extremely humbled to be receiving this level of recognition,” said Erick Calderon, co-founder and CEO of Art Blocks.
The first batch of NFT works will be auctioned off as part of Christie’s larger “POST-WAR TO PRESENT” live auction in New York, alongside more traditional artists and pieces.
Christie’s will also list five of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s original doodles of his VeeFriends NFT collection as part of the same auction, Davis confirmed to ULTCOIN365.
Christie’s is set to auction its first NFT photograph as part of its “PHOTOGRAPHS” series on Oct. 6, just five days later. The auction will include the NFT Twin Flames #83, as well as all 100 physical photos in the collection.
“This can be a bridge between traditional art collectors and new crypto art collectors,” said Justin Aversano, the photographer behind the Twin Flames project, which is expected to sell at auction for between $100,000 and $150,000.
As part of a cross-pollination marketing strategy, the international auction house appears to be sprinkling NFTs into its traditional live auctions. Christie’s auctions will combine digital and physical art, introducing traditional art collectors to NFTs and attracting crypto-native collectors who were not previously clients of the auction house.
“It’s incredible to see so many incredible artists succeed in the NFT space; that was always the dream,” said Uhrig, co-founder of Curio Cards.
“In 2017, Curio Cards emphasized explaining what NFTs were and why they were valuable. It has now become a well-known ecosystem, with artists being showcased at major auction houses such as Christie’s.”