One of Australia’s most important photographic collections is up for sale. Yesterday, Lloyds Auctions opened bidding on a collection of glass negatives spanning 140-years of history Down Under. Each item in the Rose Stereograph Company archive has also been minted as a non-fungible token. These include both Ned Kelly’s armour and Gallipoli photo NFTs.
The trove of snapshots from Australia’s history is the first time Lloyds auction house has used non-fungible tokens in the sale of real world items. It’s a move we expect to see more of in the future.
A significant moment in time
Speaking to 9News, Lee Hames, Lloyds Auctions chief operating officer, explained offering digital ownership of the negatives seemed like “the right thing to do”.
“Anyone can buy a Picasso print but only one person can own the original,” he told the network. With many newcomers still struggling to grasp NFTs as a concept, this is an important — if oversimplified — point to make.
The significance of Ned Kelly’s armour and Gallipoli photo NFTs
Ned Kelly’s armour and the Gallipoli photo NFTs should be considered priceless. But don’t worry if you’re not familiar with Australian history — both the man and the moment have respective movies, which we highly recommend watching.
If that seems like too much effort, though, we can divulge some details. Kelly was a ‘bushranger’ in the 19th century outback. And by that we mean a highwayman, gang leader and cop killer. He was executed in 1880 after one last shootout with police, during which he war a suit of bulletproof armour. As you probably guessed, that armour is the same as in the photograph, negative, and now NFT.
As for Gallipoli, this was a bloody World War I campaign staged at what is now modern Turkey’s Gelibolu peninsula. Allied amphibious landings took place in spring 1915, and were followed by eight months of brutal fighting. In total, 250,000 men died on each side. Australian and New Zealand forces were heavily involved, fighting in the name of the British Empire, but the event is seen as helping foster their independent national identities. As a result, Anzac Day remains among the most important dates of remembrance in both countries. It is commemorated on 25th April each year.
What else is in the Lloyds Auctions collection?
The Lloyds Auction photonegative and NFT sale documents much more than violence alone. The collection also includes a shot of Phar Lap winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930. The champion New Zealand thoroughbred racehorse is widely regarded as the greatest of all time in this part of the world.
In addition to this, bidders can bag images of an Egyptian pyramid and the Sphinx, the Duchess of York and daughter, and the Franco British Expedition. All of which represent truly significant moments in history.
Lloyds Auctions is the latest in a long list of art sellers moving into non-fungible tokens. Sotheby’s is currently running its ‘Natively Digital’ auction. Among other things this includes ‘Quantum’ by Kevin McCoy, the first NFT ever minted.
And Christie’s lays claim to record breaking NFT art auctions. Beeple’s ‘Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’ sold for a staggering $69million earlier this year. Meanwhile, in other non-fungible art news, cities including New York and Chicago have recently unveiled plans for physical NFT galleries.
For more details on the Australian sale, head to Lloyds Auctions online.