Banksy Artwork First to Accept Crypto at Sotheby’s Auction

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Banksy Artwork First to Accept Crypto at Sotheby’s Auction” – below is their description.

    (Bloomberg) — For the first time in 14 months, the auction calendar is behaving as it used to before Covid-19, as rivals Christie’s and Sotheby’s gear up for a week of marquee evening and day sales in New York.

    The phrases “masterpiece” and “museum-quality” are once again straining from overuse by auction specialists, and Sotheby’s will even allow in-person bidders, though in a highly limited capacity. In other words, it should be a return to normal.

    But even though the calendar looks like it used to and auction house specialists are sounding the same notes, the makeup of the auctions themselves, particularly in the contemporary art categories, is strikingly different than in years past.

    “I think you’re right to do a double take, because we intentionally decided this season to mix it up,” says Sara Friedlander, the deputy chairman of the postwar and contemporary art department at Christie’s in New York. “It’s a sale that I think has more variety of price points than we’ve ever done before.”

    At Sotheby’s, an hour before its contemporary art evening auction on May 12, works from the estate of the late oil heiress Anne Marion will hit the block, including a rare Clyfford Still from 1948 that carries a high estimate of $18 million and above.

    Then, in the official evening sale, Sotheby’s will offer Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 7-foot tall Versus Medici, with a high estimate of $50 million, and a “blackboard” painting by Cy Twombly from 1970 that carries a high estimate of $45 million.

    In another major break from tradition, Christie’s will include a group of NFTs called Crypto Punks. The rough, digital images of cartoon heads are connected to blockchain technology and have become a cult collectible in the crypto space. Bidders can pay for the collection, which carries an estimate of $7 million to $9 million in Ether.

    And over at Sotheby’s, a work by Banksy, Love is in the Air, which is estimated from $3 million to $5 million, can also be paid for in Ether or Bitcoin, though the buyer will have to pay the buyer’s premium in fiat currency.

    Friedlander says it’s too soon to say if NFT bidders are also interested in the sale’s more traditional art. “It’s still early days,” she says. “I don’t know about interest on anything.”

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