After running successful NFT Auctions, Christie’s and Sotheby’s have decided to hold nothing back. Sotheby’s officially confirmed that it would accept Ether or Bitcoin for its upcoming multi-million sale. The rare gem is “The Key 101.38”, a pear-shaped diamond with flawless clarity and D-Color. Meanwhile, Christie’s would accept crypto payments for a major Keith Haring painting.
Christie’s contemporary head, Alex Rotter, confirmed that Keith Allen Haring’s painting is estimated at $5.4 million to $6.2 million. The traditional auction house is offering the painting at the upcoming “London to Paris” sale on June 30.
Keith Haring is an American artist whose pop art emerged from the 1980’s New York City graffiti subculture. His animated imagery has “become a widely recognized visual language.” Thus, the subject matter of his untitled 1984 piece perfectly marries digital and traditional art. Christie’s said, “As one of the earliest depictions in contemporary art of the home computer, it is well suited to a cross-over audience of digital art and traditional art collectors.”
Christie’s has a good batting average in NFT Auctions. After all, they are responsible for Beeple’s historic $69 Million NFT Sale of the First 5,000 Days Digital Art.
The diamond up for auction has the highest color and clarity grade possible for a colorless diamond. Unsurprisingly, Sotheby’s estimates that it is worth $10 Million to $15 Million. This is the first time that cryptocurrency will be accepted as payment in a public auction of a diamond weighing more than 100 carats. In addition, this is the first time that clients can buy a tangible eight-figure object with cryptocurrency.
Sotheby’s named the gem “The Key 101.38” because historically, keys, like diamonds, have been a symbol of power and of the freedom that comes with it. This sale represents keys of a digital kind that are critical to the functioning of cryptocurrency.
Sotheby’s deputy chairman of jewelry in Asia, Wenhao Yu, affirms that this sale is a symbolic moment in the industry. He noted, “The most ancient and emblematic denominator of value can now, for the first time, be purchased using humanity’s newest universal currency. Never was there a better moment to bring a world-class diamond such as this to the market.”
Josh Pullan, the managing director of the auction house’s global luxury division, is bullish over the increasing appetite for luxury items. He said, “Increasingly that demand is coming from a younger, digitally native generation, many of whom are in Asia.”
Sotheby’s is offering the diamond in a single-lot auction on July 9 to kick off the “Luxury Edit” series in Asia. On top of that, Sotheby’s will auction jewels, watches, handbags, and sneakers. The management is only accepting by-appointment viewings at their New York headquarters. However, they will display the pieces in Hong Kong before the auction on July 3 to 8.
Why NFTs and Luxury Goods Click
Recently, IceCap became the first company to offer investment-class diamonds as NFTs. NFTs clicks with the luxury market because it shares the “exclusivity” component. The market demand sets the value of an NFT instead of being worth a certain amount like a price tag. Consequently, individuality often pushes the price higher. The luxury industry uses this same scarcity principle. For example, there are urban legends about obtaining a Birkin Bag because it is so scarce that money is not enough to acquire one.
To conclude, with Christie’s and Sotheby’s announcements, we can expect more luxury goods and NFTs integration. It hits different when a traditional institution openly adopts, innovates and breaks records through NFTs.