Auction house sells glass negatives as NFTs, tells buyers to ‘break’ originals

Rupert Farnall Studios’ “Charles Frederick Goldie at His Easel” (c. 1910-1920), one of two photos sold by New Zealand auction house Webb’s as NFT (via Wikimedia Commons)

A New Zealand auction house has sold two glass plate negatives as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and encouraged buyers to destroy the originals.

Webb’s, headquartered in Auckland, is listed two NFTs based on photographs by the controversial artist Charles Goldie, famous for his portraits of ancient Maori. Each token came with “a framed contact print of the image and the original glass plate negative” presented in a custom-made pine box.

Also included with each lot, as described in OpenSea, where the NFTs were struck, was “a small brass hammer”. The tool appears intended to give token buyers the ability to smash through the plates of glass, eradicate the physical object in order to – presumably – elevate the digital asset.

“Maybe you might want to make it permanently digital,” Webb art director Charles Ninow said. news center. “Crush him? Crush him.”

NFTs of “Charles Frederick Goldie at His Easel” and “Charles Frederick Goldie in His Studio” sold this week for $51,250 and $76,250, respectively.

The story was tweeted by Molly White from Web3 is doing greata blog she describes as highlighting “just a handful of all the hacks, scams and bad ideas that are so prevalent in crypto and web3 projects.”

Some responded to the auction house’s bizarre sales pitch by sarcasmmocking the strategy as a gimmick that illustrates how the crypto space benefits from controversy.

“I suspect this was all a calculated decision by the auction house. They knew that offering a hammer and suggesting buyers destroy a historical artifact to make the project ‘digital permanent’ would be provocative and generate interest” , White told Hyperallergic, “They also seem to have succeeded – both auctions closed at prices well above estimates – but certainly at the cost of being able to claim to be motivated by their love of art rather than money. .”

Webb’s has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.