Famed Auction House Christie’s Hit 9 Figures In NFT Sales In 2021

Christie’s has declared their expected earnings of over $7 billion this year. The figure is the auction house’s third-highest yearly total. Notably, $150 million of this revenue came from the sale of NFTs. NFTs were only incorporated this year as a category at Christie’s. 

Rejuvenation In Auction Business 

The revenue stream though was still largely created by traditional art. Christie’s also auctioned off the most expensive art this year, a Picasso that sold for over $100 million in the summer. Only Sotheby did better in revenue this year with a $200 million difference.

This year’s figure takes a jump from the total of just over $4 billion this year, far below the total of $5 billion for Sotheby’s. Nevertheless, the figures show that the auction business is getting its groove back. Like every other industry, it had suffered from the restrictions brought by the pandemic. However, by taking advantage of technological innovation and things like virtual auctions, the industry seems to be having a comeback.

Breakdown Of Christie’s NFT Engagements

The Chairman of the 20/21 art departments pronounced Christie’s the number one auction house for NFTs this year. The auction house notably sold 9 CryptoPunks in a single evening in May. CryptoPunks remains one of the most sought-after NFTs globally, and Christie’s sold the 9 for nearly $17 million.

Famed NFT artist Beeple raked in the most money from NFTs for the auction house. In March, his “Everydays” sold for over $69 million. Many believe that this was the catalyst for the surge of interest in the NFT market this year.

Beeple’s dominance didn’t end in March, though. Just last month, Christie’s auctioned another of his pieces. The massive astronaut sculpture titled HUMAN ONE, accompanied by an NFT, sold for just under $30 million. 

In the same month, Christie’s also announced that they would be collaborating with OpenSea to sell NFTs on the NFT marketplace. The head of the digital sales department at the company, Noah Davis, believed that by leveraging on the framework provided by OpenSea the auction house could get ahead of the competition trying to build theirs from scratch. The sale ended two weeks ago, on the 7th of this month.

The pieces out on sale were put on display at Art Basel Miami Beach before the sale to get people excited. Christie’s selected the content with the help of “nft now,” an NFT news platform, in an increased effort to get the auction house up to speed with the changes in the emerging market. Noah Davis stated that Christie’s would be selling to the Crypto enthusiasts.

The sale featured over 20 NFTs, with Mad Dog Jones leading the pack. The Canadian artist had previously sold a piece for Philips earlier in the year for over $4 million. However, the collaboration with OpenSea brought in just $3.6 million in sales, which didn’t live up to previous revenue from NFT sales by Christie’s. 

The Impacts On NFTs and Auctioning

Christie’s has sold a century of NFTs this year. The age of customers patronizing the auction house is also reducing. More than a third of the customers that purchased NFTs from Christie’s had never patronized them before.

NFT sales this year reached over $10 billion in 2021. The figure from Christie’s is a small fraction, but there are hopes that the credibility of NFTs will be helped by the reputation of the famed auction house. Christie’s is likely to continue on this path with access to a new customer base.

By Edward Harris
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