Sotheby's 'Gold Fur' Bored Ape NFT Auction Will Retest Art World Demand



A curated batch of Bored Ape Yacht Club-centric Ethereum NFTs from Yuga Labs is set to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s on June 18, providing a white-gloved test of the staying power of Ape-themed assets in the fine art community.

The lot of collectibles includes an NFT profile picture (PFP) from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, adorned in a leather work vest and “sushi chef headband.” Known as Ape #8552, one of the NFT’s main selling points is its former, now-bankrupt owner—aside from the Ape’s solid-gold fur, of course.

Once an asset held by Three Arrows Capital (3AC), a crypto hedge fund wiped out amid the widespread market tumult of 2022, the NFT is accompanied by other pieces of digital art. Those include two, gold-furred NFTs from Yuga’s Mutant Ape Yacht Club collection and a depiction of a dog from Yuga’s Bored Ape Kennel Club line.

NFTs from profile picture collections typically include various, randomized traits. In addition to a collectible’s provenance, they can have an outsized influence on an NFT’s value.

The cheapest Ape listed for sale on a secondary market, for example, would cost someone around $48,000 today, according to NFT Price Floor. But only 46 of 10,000 Apes were minted with gold fur, and the last one sold for $933,000 or 247 ETH in March. 

Of on-chain sales tracked by the NFT marketplace OpenSea, nine of the 12 highest Bored Ape sales involved Apes with gold fur. And the trait has benefited Sotheby’s before. In 2021, the art house facilitated a record-setting $3.4 million sale of a Bored Ape featuring gold fur.

Referencing the year that Yuga Labs released its Bored Ape line, Sotheby’s head of digital art and NFTs, Michael Bouhanna, described the Bored Ape as a “2021 relic” on Twitter (aka X).

Meanwhile, the NFT researcher who posts as Punk9059 on Twitter highlighted the prices that 3AC paid for the assets initially. Scooping up Ape and Kennel Club NFTs in July 2021, the account stated that 3AC coughed up for 106 ETH, around $401,000 by today’s prices.

As a spinoff collection launched in August 2021, Mutant Apes could be created using a “mutant serum” token granted to existing holders of the Bored Ape collection. Bored Ape holders had to “transform” their existing Ape, or purchase one from the lot of 10,000 additional Mutant Apes released by Yuga in a public sale.

While ultra-rare Bored Apes can still fetch lofty prices, the prices of more common ones have dipped dramatically since Apes’ peak minimum price of nearly $430,000 in April 2022. In the past year, that figure, known as a floor price, has dropped to $47,500 (12.6 ETH) from $84,250 (46 ETH) amid Ethereum’s own upward climb.

Artwork owned by the aforementioned 3AC, which was sold by liquidators to cover outstanding debts, has generated a splash at Sotheby’s before. A year ago, Ringers #879, a generative piece of art known as “The Goose,” drew a $6.2 million sale, including auction house fees.

Decrypt reached out to Bouhanna and other Sotheby’s representatives for more details on the planned Bored Ape auction, but did not immediately receive a response.

Edited by Andrew Hayward





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