• The NFTs were valued at $20 million to $30 million
  • The group of CryptoPunks were originally acquired in a single transaction by collector “0x650d”

Sotheby’s did not auction off the 104 CryptoPunks originally slated for Wednesday evening. In a turn of events for the New York auction house, the bid was withdrawn.

Derek Parsons, senior press officer of Sotheby’s Americas, told Blockworks in an email that the CryptoPunks were withdrawn prior to the sale following “discussions with the consignor.”

“nvm, decided to hodl,” the pseudonymous consignor of the auction tweeted following Sotheby’s announcement. 

The withdrawal announcement was made in the crowded auction room roughly 23 minutes after bidding was scheduled to commence. However, onlookers were encouraged to enjoy an afterparty with live music by DJ Seed Phrase. 

Two sources familiar with the matter told Blockworks that there were not enough bidders on the single-lot auction. Sotheby’s declined to comment on any logistics regarding bidders. 

The group of CryptoPunks were originally acquired together in a single transaction by anonymous collector “0x650d.” CryptoPunks were released in 2017 by studio Larva Labs and currently have a floor price of $177,663, according to blockchain data dashboard NFT Price Floor.

The NFTs (non-fungible tokens) were valued at $20 million to $30 million.

Michael Bouhanna, co-head of digital art at Sotheby’s, had earlier described the sale as a “first-of-its kind” due to its focus on CryptoPunks in the auction house’s Feb. 8 announcement.

“CryptoPunks are the original PFP [profile picture] series that created the template for other NFT projects that have followed, and which helped propel NFTs to the global stage as one of the most recognizable visual styles that have become synonymous with the digital art movement,” Bouhanna said in a statement. 

Last year, Sotheby’s launched an NFT marketplace and sold $100 million worth of the blockchain-based digital collectibles, according to an annual report from the auction house.

Bouhanna told Blockworks that NFT sales have expanded Sotheby’s audience reach to a “whole new group of collectors.” 

“I think we will continue to see growth of new collectors at Sotheby’s who come to us via our NFT sales, as well as more art collectors more familiar with contemporary and modern art exploring NFTs as they continue to become more prominent in pop culture,” Bouhanna said.

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  • Morgan Chittum is a New York-based reporter covering NFTs, the metaverse, play-to-earn gaming and other emerging Web3 tech for Blockworks. Previously she was a street reporter, covering crime at New York Daily News, and a media and journalism fellow at the Poynter Institute. Contact Morgan via email at [email protected]