Sotheby’s Reports Close to $35 Million in Digital Art Sales for 2023, Declares It ‘One of the Most Exciting Years’

Sotheby's NFT Auction House
Source: A screenshot, Instagram/ Sothebys

Sotheby’s, the renowned auction house with a rich history spanning 279 years, has made a significant impact on the digital art market in the current year. Fine arts auction house Sotheby’s reported making “close to $35 million” in digital art sales in 2023, marking it as a standout year for the emerging sector.

On December 23, Michael Bouhanna, the company’s Vice President and Head of Digital Art, concluded Sotheby’s year results regarding digital art on X as “one of the most exciting years for digital art.”

Notably, Sotheby’s conducted its first live digital art auction with 300 attendees, generating $12 million in sales. The auction house also set a new record for an individual digital artwork by selling Dmitry Chernyak’s non-fungible token (NFT) ‘Ringers #879’ for an impressive $6.2 million.

In total, Sotheby’s conducted over 25 auctions focused exclusively on digital art or including it in contemporary art sales. The company launched its on-chain marketplace for the secondary trade of NFTs called Sotheby’s Metaverse.

Furthermore, Sotheby’s partnered with 99-year-old artist Vera Molnar and Martin Grasser to launch the highly successful NFT collection “Themes and Variations.” This collaboration bridged the gap between generations and artistic mediums, proving that digital art can resonate with everyone.

Earlier this year, Sotheby’s made history by auctioning the manuscript of Neal Stephenson’s cult novel “Avalanche,” believed to contain the first-ever use of the term “metaverse.” Looking ahead, Sotheby plans to refine its strategies in the primary market and continue supporting creators.

Sotheby’s Enters NFT Space with Bitcoin Ordinals Collection, Reflecting Rising Interest in Digital Art Market

The 279-year-old auction house entered the NFT space in April 2021 and has since conducted numerous record-breaking digital art sales.

The resurgence of the NFT space, coupled with a recent Bitcoin bull run, has contributed to increased interest and trade volumes in the digital art market.

The overall trade volume approached $1 billion in November, and the average NFT transaction value witnessed a 114% increase. Trading volume surged by 125% in November, suggesting a shift in user behavior compared to earlier downturns in NFT trading. This upward trend suggests a growing willingness among users to engage in higher-value trades.

However, it’s important to note that investments in crypto assets like NFTs are unregulated and may not be suitable for all investors. Such investments carry the risk of complete loss and are not targeted at or accessible to investors in Spain.

On December 7, Sotheby’s announced that it would sell a Bitcoin Ordinals collection for the 279-year-old auction house.

Sotheby’s said the sale of pieces from BitcoinShrooms, an ordinals project by pseudonymous artist Shroomtoshi, is the first time works from the collection will be made available to the public.

The collection consists of a series of pixel art pieces that reference Bitcoin’s history and underlying principles, including memes and technical concepts.

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