In a first in the history of auctions, a digital artwork sold for more than US $69 million at Christie’s. The artwork, titled Everydays – The First 5000 Days by American artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, is a collage of 5,000 individual images made one-per-day over more than thirteen years.
In a tweet on March 11, Christie’s said that the artwork was sold for US $69,346,250 placing Beeple among the “the top three most valuable living artists”.
Christie’s also said that it is the first purely digital Non-Fungible Token (NFT) based artwork offered by a major auction house. The auction had been announced in February this year.
“I feel like I got a steal,” said the buyer, who goes by the pseudonym Metakovan, in a recent interview – that did not reveal his true identity – with the New York Times.
“I was quite anxious at the end,” explained Metakovan in the interview. “But I’m used to bidding at crypto auctions. I don’t know how I would have performed if it had been a live sale.”
NFT is a type of digital asset authenticated and secured by blockchain. The artwork had a starting bid of US $100, but it was pushed up by more than 350 prospective buyers.
“We see NFTs as a larger space; there are so many different kinds,” said Metakovan, who started his collection in 2016 by buying land in virtual worlds, to the New York Times.
The two other living artists whose work have fetched more than Beeple’s are David Hockney and Jeff Koons. While Hockney’s painting Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” fetched US $90.3 million in 2018, a stainless steel sculpture by Koons titled Rabbit was sold for Us $91.1 million in 2019.