In a disappointing development for the auction house, a planned sale of 104, potentially highly lucrative CryptoPunks at Sotheby’s was derailed this week: the collection of items was unexpectedly withdrawn right before they were supposed to go to auction. The sale, entitled “Punk It!,” had been anticipated to result in sales of $20 to $30 million; this was the highest estimate for an NFT or a work of digital art ever offered at auction. The Sotheby’s website is now hosting a 404 error page where the “Punk It!” sale was previously listed.
Shortly before the sale was set to take place on Wednesday, Twitter account 0x650d (@0x650d), the anonymous collector who was the consignor behind the sale, quote tweeted a previous tweet they’d sent earlier in February announcing the sale with the following: “nvm, decided to hodl.” In subsequent posts, the account tweeted memes.
Troll behavior in upscale settings is typical behavior when it comes to denizens of the internet, but is perhaps less common in the art world. One notable exception is Banksy, who created a global uproar when he rigged one of his artworks to self-shred moments after it had been sold at a highly public auction. Inevitably, this shredded artwork went on to sell at auction for $25.4 million. It’s less clear whether the rescinded <=”font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, ‘Segoe UI’, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, ‘Helvetica Neue’, sans-serif;”>0x650d CryptoPunks will pop up on the auction circuit again, or whether their current owner decided to hoard the NFTs for themself.
Sotheby’s would have almost certainly cleaned up had the auction gone forward. A CryptoPunk sold for $23.7 million earlier this month, and last summer, Sotheby’s sold a Larva Labs ‘Covid Alien’ CryptoPunk for $11,754,000. Observer reached out to Sotheby’s for comment on the cancelled sale, and will update this article in the event of a response.