‘The Goose’ Generative Art Nets $6.2M in Sotheby’s Auction

Credit: Sotheby's

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In a show of force of high-quality non-fungible token art, Sotheby’s GRAILS auction netted $11 million, with the headline sale being Dmitri Cherniak’s Ringers #879, otherwise known as “The Goose” going for $6.2 million. That sale is the second highest for that piece of art and a reminder that digital art is still popular amongst collectors.

Among the statistics for Sotheby’s GRAILS auction are:

  • Nearly 1,000 bids total with 50% of bidders being under the age of 40
  • The $11 million total surpassed the $5 million top estimate prior to the auction
  • Eight new auction records and benchmarks were set
  • There was global participation from 17 countries

“The Goose” sold to pseudonymous digital art collector Punk6529, an early crypto investor and NFT maxi. He said in a statement on-chain generative art is act of faith by the artist and the minter, as no one knows the final output of the algorithm that creates the art. “The Goose” has had a historic run throughout key moments in NFT history, and he suspects its journey has just begun.

Garrett Skrovina, a partner with CoinDesk, captured the moment when “The Goose” sold for its second highest price ever:

Other notable sales in the Sotheby’s GRAILS auction included Tyler Hobbs’ Fidenza #479, which sold for$622,000, Larva Labs’ Autoglyph #218, which sold for $330,200, and Chromie Squiggle #1780, otherwise known as Perfect Spectrum, which sold for $635,000. All those pieces sold for higher than expected.

Sotheby’s GRAILS auction was part of the liquidation process of Three Arrows Capital (3AC), though the auction house has taken steps to distance itself from the defunct hedge fund. The NFTs came from 3AC’s Starry Night fund, which attempted to collect the best digital art non-fungible tokens in existence.

Sotheby’s GRAILS Auction to Go to 3AC’s Creditors

Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby’s Head of Digital Art & NFTs, said in a statement shared with Rarity Sniper that the auction represents the growing importance of digital art as a critical form of contemporary art. He added that the sale shows that works of exceptional quality still command the attention of serious collectors, with the artists behind these works setting benchmarks even after the peak of NFT season in 2021.

But, with all that said, there is a side-benefit to the GRAILS auction: The proceeds will go to the creditors of 3AC, which were left with nothing after the crypto hedge fund went bankrupt. Some of the big-name creditors are Blockchain.com, Voyager Digital, and Genesis, though there are many others.

As we have seen with other crypto companies going bankrupt, there is often a long period between declaring bankruptcy and creditors being made whole. This includes the on-going process of FTX, which at one point owed its customers billions of dollars. The process of reimbursing creditors could go a long way to reestablishing trust within the Web3 space, which has seen many people leave over some of the practices.

However, Sotheby’s auction shows that there is still a bright side, and one that doesn’t look to be going away any time soon. NFTs has breathed new life into the art seen, and generative art remains an important form of digital creation, one that blends technology and art, and, as the auction shows, still commands millions of dollars.

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