An art gallery in New Zealand reportedly offered bizarre advice to the winners of two glass plate portraits. The sale included ownership of the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of each photo, as well as the original nameplates – but a small brass gavel was also included with each. Could this be a risky move by the auction house to bring them more interest, or a genuine suggestion to make NFTs more valuable?
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a Nirvana photographer receive backlash for selling NFTs from the group and heard a rumor that Instagram might be the next company to jump on the NFT bandwagon. But this latest stunt from Webb’s auctioneers and appraisers might be the most unsettling yet, as the head of art reportedly told winning bidders to “Smash it.”
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The original portraits on glass were made by the famous New Zealand artist Charles Goldie between 1910 and 1920. Best known for his paintings of Maori chiefs, leaders and their community, Charles Goldie wanted to preserve the heritage of the Maori people who also became his friends. Both sets include the original glass plate portraits presented in a custom pine box, a framed print, the NFTs and the gavel.
According to Hyperallergic, Charles Ninow, art lead at Webb’s, told Newshub: “Maybe you want to make it digital permanently. Destroy it? Destroy it.” While this may seem like unlikely advice for an auction house, it is thought to be a trick by Webb to generate more interest in the sale.
The portrait of Charles Frederik Goldie at his easel sold for AU$51,250 while the portrait of him in his studio sold for a whopping $76,250. It is expected that if glass plate negatives were sold without the NFTs, they would not have been so valuable. Charles Ninow also told Newshub that “…it’s really important to the history of Zeeland and in a way we’re making it immortal.”
There was no comment from Webb’s in response to the allegations, nor have we heard whether the winning bidders followed the advice. As disturbing as it is to think that people might start destroying original artwork to make digital versions more valuable, we can only hope that in this case it was a risky move to gain more value. interest in the sale.
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