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

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 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 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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