Christie’s Will Become the First Major Auction House to Offer NFTs in Asia, With a Sale of CryptoPunks, Meebits, and Bored Apes

The auction house sold a set of CryptoPunks for $16.9 million in May.

Yuga Labs, Bored Ape Yacht Club #8746 (2021). Courtesy of Christie's.

Next month, Christie’s says it will become the first major auction house to offer NFTs in Asia—and they’ll do it with a suited skeleton and an ape with lasers shooting from his eyes. 

On September 17, the company will stage “No Time Like Present” in Hong Kong, an online auction of rare crypto-art works, including a special assortment of profile-pic NFTs—or one-of-a-kind digital avatars. Notably, that will include several examples of CryptoPunks, a cultish series of pixelated portraits on the Ethereum blockchain. Designed by software developers Matt Hall and John Watkinson through their company Larva Labs, each punk is distinguished by different algorithmically assigned characteristics—an earring, perhaps, or a mohawk.

Larva Labs, <i>CryptoPunk 9997</i> (2017). Courtesy of Christie's.

Larva Labs, CryptoPunk 9997 (2017). Courtesy of Christie’s.

The real treasure of the bunch is a zombie-themed punk with a goatee and newsboy cap. Estimates for that piece (and others) have yet to be announced, but Christie’s senior digital art specialist Noah Davis told ARTnews that the undead avatar could fetch a pretty penny. “A Zombie traded last Friday for 1500 ETH [nearly $4.7 million],” he said. “Christie’s Zombie could beat that price.”

In May, a set of nine CryptoPunks sold at the Christie’s for a staggering $16.9 million, doubling its pre-sale estimate of $7 million to $9 million.

“No Time Like Present” will also feature breeds of PFPs (short for ProFile Pictures) that have heretofore not been offered outside of standard NFT-trading platforms. In this category, for instance, are Meebits, LarvaLabs’s follow-up to CryptoPunks that similarly take the form of lo-res characters, but, unlike their predecessors, are rendered in 3D and depict the whole body. A skeleton with a Reservoir Dogs-style suit is a particularly rare example going up for sale.  

Larva Labs, <i>Meebit #6337</i> (2021). Courtesy of Christie's.

Larva Labs, Meebit #6337 (2021). Courtesy of Christie’s.

There are also examples of Yuga Labs’s Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of monkey-themed characters. An ape with a halo and laser-producing eyes is the one to keep an eye on—a similar example sold for 400 ETH, an estimated $1.3 million, on the OpenSea platform earlier this week. 

Other lots in the upcoming sale have not yet been announced. A representative from Christie’s did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

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