Sotheby's auction sets new world record for $11.8M CryptoPunk sale

Friday 11 June 2021, 3:17 AM AEST - 1 week ago

Luxury auction house Sothebys made waves on social media on Thursday following the sale of one rare CryptoPunk.

In a tweet from Sothebys, the auction said CryptoPunk #7523 — also known as COVID Alien — sold in its London salesroom for roughly $11.8 million. According to the auction house, this sale represents a new world record for a single CryptoPunk artwork.

CryptoPunks, which predate the bulk of the nonfungible token (NFT) craze in 2021, are often small, pixelated depictions of people, apes, zombies and aliens. Sothebys announced the sale of the COVID Alien in late May as a special, standalone auction. The artwork features an alien wearing a face mask.

Moments ago in our #London saleroom, an extremely rare Alien CryptoPunk #7523 from the collection of @sillytuna sold for $11.8M as part of our #NativelyDigital NFT auction – setting a new world auction record for a single CryptoPunk. pic.twitter.com/PDVUSttI3o

— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) June 10, 2021

On-chain data shows that someone purchased the CryptoPunk for 8 Ether (ETH) in a public sale in 2017 — a fraction of the sale price today. However, last month New York-based auction house Christies sold nine CryptoPunks for almost $17 million, implying there is still strong interest from many buyers for these pieces.

"Punks were designed as pseudonymous portraits, masks for those crypto pioneers that value the idea of privacy in the modern age," said Sotheby's in an overview of the auction. "Avatars, portraits or masks, they stand as semiotic reference points to a specific internet crypto native identity that now spreads itself across social networks — particularly Twitter. More is said by a Punk as a profile picture than a portrait of the individual behind the account."

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