Christie's Sold $150M Worth of NFTs This Year

Beeple sales accounted for a significant portion of the auction house's NFT revenue.

Shutterstock cover by Alena Veasey

Key Takeaways

  • Christie’s has revealed that it made nearly $150 million in revenue from NFT sales this year.
  • The auction house’s total global sales this year were strong at $7.1 billion.
  • Christie’s foray into the world of NFTs likely contributed to the wave of enthusiasm around NFTs in 2021.

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World-famous auction house Christie’s has made nearly $150 million in revenue this year from NFTs alone. 

A Novel Moneymaker

Christie’s, the British auction house founded in 1766, announced today that it had sold close to $150 million worth of NFTs in 2021 “after launching this new market first on the global auction stage.”

This represents a rather small portion of Christie’s total sales this year, which it projects to be $7.1 billion globally; total sales for the auction house were roughly 54% higher than they were last year. These are Christie’s highest numbers in the last five years. 

Traditional art still dominated Christie’s sales this year: two of the most valuable works sold at auction in 2021 were a Picasso at $103.4 million and a Basquiat for $93.1 million. However, the same May evening that the Basquiat sold, nine CryptoPunks—arguably the most famous NFT collection in the world—sold at auction for a total of $16.9 million. 

Beeple was easily the most valuable NFT artist represented in the auction house’s catalog this year. In March, he sold his “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” NFT at Christie’s for $69.34 million. This sale arguably kicked off the NFT craze that characterized this year in crypto.

In November, Christie’s sold another one of Beeple’s works, called “HUMAN ONE,” a 7-foot-tall astronaut sculpture that was paired with an NFT, for just under $29 million. That same month, Christie’s and OpenSea partnered to sell a whole collection of NFTs.

Total sales volume for the entire NFT market has been estimated at $12 billion in 2021, which might make the $150 million done at Christie’s seem rather small in comparison. However, it seems likely that Christie’s entrenched position in the traditional art world helped to elevate NFT art to a new level of respectability.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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