• Over half of NFT bidders were under 40 and over three-quarters had never before participated in its auctions
  • The auction house launched NFT marketplace, Sotheby’s Metaverse, in October

Sotheby’s auction house has had a “historic” year and, in part, credits “the meteoric rise of NFTs” for its record-breaking sales, according to its annual report sent to Blockworks on Wednesday. 

The centuries-old institution has netted $100 million from sales of the blockchain-based digital collectibles, according to the report.

Sotheby’s earned a total of $6 billion from its auctions so far in 2021, up 71% on the year. Dubbing its performance as “the strongest total in [the] company’s 277-year history,” the auction house has seen a surge of new bidders this year, specifically in its non-fungible token (NFT) sales, according to data in the report. Over 50% of NFT bidders were under 40 and 78% had never before participated in its auctions.  

“An influx of younger, tech-savvy collectors also saw a landmark crossover into purchases,” the report detailed.

The auction house launched its NFT marketplace, Sotheby’s Metaverse, in October, making it the first auction house to have an NFT-dedicated platform. Sotheby’s had previously auctioned off a single CryptoPunk for $11.8 million and a single Bored Ape for $3.4 million.

“Markets are clearly strong across the board, but collectors felt like it was smart to focus on art,” Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart told The Wall Street Journal. 

Competing auction houses Christie’s and Phillips are expected to release their annual results next week.


Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


  • 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]