If you had any doubt, Sotheby’s is open for crypto business. A month ago, the auction house launched of its "Metaverse" as a means to gain footing in the digital NFT market, and now, Sotheby’s has announced its first live cryptocurrency auction, featuring two famed pieces by anonymous and revolutionary graffiti artist Banksy.
Instead of the traditional dollar, prospective buyers will place bids using Ether. It's the second-most popular cryptocurrency in the world, and the most frequently used for digital sales of NFTs.
"The Now Evening Auction” is set for Thursday, Nov. 18, in Sotheby's New York City headquarters. The traditional art auction will be filled to the brim with famous contemporary artists, including Adam Pendleton and Rashid Johnson, but the NFT event has the potential to break the bank. Two of Banksy's most famous works will be available through Ether bidding, “Trolley Hunters” and “Love is in the Air.”
With a worth estimated between $5 and $7 million, “Trolley Hunters” is an early example of Banksy’s work, an original part of the artist’s breakthrough collection in 2006. Seen as an example of Banksy’s typical wit and style, the painting shares the marquee with "Love is in the Air," certainly one of Banksy's most well-known pieces to date. The latter's juxtoposition of civil unrest with beauty and humanity has made the image a staple of protests and street art since its creation, cementing both the art and the artist as one of the more influential contemporary works. The painted copy earns a hefty price tag with the inclusion of oil paints and an original signature, estimated to bring in between $4 and $6 million.
Banksy "Love is in the Air"
The paintings will be solicited by Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker. Despite the live bidding being done in Ether—which the auction house claims is the first ever such case—the winning bidder will be able to pay the hammer price in fiat currency, as well as in Bitcoin or USD. At press time, a single Ether is currently worth around $4,740, meaning that the estimations of $4 million or greater are equivalent to roughly 850 ether and greater.
While NFTs are still relatively new developments and have been largely digital in nature, the push of the cryptocurrency into one of the nation’s most storied platforms is not to be underestimated; crypto might become the next dollar.
Learn more about "The Now Evening Auction” and the items up for grabs via sothebys.com.