" " Skip to content

NFT & Auction Houses: Timeline

The auction houses that for years have dominated and have played an extremely important role in the art market are mainly three: Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips.

Together they represent 70% of the contemporary art market by turnover.

The market shares that these three auction houses manage are as follows:

  •         Sotheby’s: 32.9%
  •         Christie’s: 25.4%
  •         Phillips: 11.9%

Eventually, over the past years, the same triad has embraced and generated a large volume of sales in the NFT space.

Christie’s in particular was the first international auction house to register the sale of works on the Blockchain.

Additionally, it was the first auction house to sell a work of art created by the artificial intelligence / AI of the Obvious collective – Portrait of Edward de Belamy, 2018 – for $ 432,500.

Much has changed since 2018: for this reason only for the year just passed – 2021 – we have created a timeline with all the auctions that took place in the main auction houses, where it is possible to see how NFTs have fully entered into large sales effectively relaunching the second market in the art world.

25 Feb - 11 March 2021
Beeple, born Mike Winkelmann, gave birth to a real revolutionary event. In fact, the now well-known collage he created in 5,000 days and sold during the online auction organized by Christie's, was the first purely digital work ever offered by the auction house. Over 22 million people were connected to the site and, after a head-to-head clash with bitcoin tycoon Justin Sun, the winner was Metakovan - pseudonym of Vignesh Sundaresan - entrepreneur, programmer and angel investor in blockchain technology.
25 Feb - 11 March 2021
11 - 23 April 2021
PHILLIPS - Mad Dog Jones , "Replicator"
After two weeks and 67 bids received, the auction house closed the sale of its first NFT work created by Canadian artist Mad Dog Jones - aka Michah Dowbak - with a record $ 4.1 million. Replicator is the digital image of a copier that, thanks to the blockchain, self-generates new NFTs every 28 days for a year. It is therefore an innovative experience, capable of giving life to seven unique generations of works of art.
11 - 23 April 2021
3-10 June 2021
SOTHEBY'S - Natively Digital
Natively Digital was the first auction, curated by Sotheby's and the London artist Robert Alice, entirely dedicated to NFT works and artists. The sale, which took place online on the auction house's website, included some of the works that have made NFT history such as: Kevin McCoy 's top lot Quantum sold for 1,472,000 USD, Robert Alice 's iNFT// To the Young Artists of Cyberspace, Secret Artwork (Content) by Rhea Myers, 19 works by Art Blocks, A Single Number That Has 10,000,086 Digits by Ryoji Ikeda, Fade by Pak and the iconic CryptoPunk 7523 by Larva Labs. Part of the proceeds were donated to the non-profit organizations Sevens Foundation and Mint Fund.
3-10 June 2021
21 - 30 June 2021
BONHAMS - CryptOGs: The Pioneers of NFT Art
The Bonhams auction house has collaborated with the SuperRare marketplace to give life to its first sale dedicated to Crypto Art. 9 lots for sale online, including the disputed Proof Of Work - Genesis, by crypto artist Coldie sold for 100,312.50 dollars, followed by the works of XCopy, Allotta Money, Janne, Matte Kane, Mattia Cuttini, Miss Al Simpson, Osinachi and Sarah Zucker.
21 - 30 June 2021