Sotheby’s CryptoPunk Auction Cancelled Last Minute


The much-anticipated auction at Sotheby’s for a collection of 104 CryptoPunk NFTs was canceled after the seller backed out last minute. 

Owner Pulls Plug On Auction

The auction was first announced on February 8 and was expected to rake in a whopping $30 million on Wednesday. As the second major NFT lot that was supposed to be auctioned by Sotheby’s, it was being touted to be “the highest-profile NFT sale of all time.” The previous one was the collection of 101 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs sold in September 2021 for $24.4 million. 

Sotheby’s tweeted out the announcement, 

“CryptoPunks get the Sotheby’s treatment. Our next #SothebysMetaverse sale ‘Punk It! 104 CryptoPunks. 1 Lot.’ will be a landmark LIVE Evening Auction on February 23. A truly historic sale for an undeniably historic NFT project.”

However, according to a Sotheby’s representative, the current owner of the NFT collection decided to pull the plug on the auction, minutes before it was supposed to go live. The announcement to withdraw was made in the crowded auction room just before bidding was supposed to start. However, visitors were still able to enjoy the afterparty that was scheduled. 

Rumors Of Low Interest

Sotheby’s had named the collection “Punk It!” back in July 2021, when a pseudonymous collector who goes by “0x650d” bought the entire thing for $7 million. Since withdrawing from the auction, the collector has tweeted that they changed their mind about selling the collection and decided to go the hodling route instead. 

Despite the anticipation for the auction, rumors were circulating about a less than lukewarm reception for the collection. CoinDesk has reported that three sources, including one bidder on-site at Sotheby’s, had claimed that the highest pre-bid offer was not even crossing the reserve price of $14 million. This could have contributed to the collector’s decision to withdraw the lot. 

Sotheby’s Goes Crypto-Heavy

The auction house has been purposefully expanding its reaches within the metaverse by altering its operations to include more digital components like crypto payments and NFT artworks. In a landmark move in 2021, it became the first auction house ever to launch its own NFT marketplace, called Sotheby’s Metaverse. On top of that, more recently, the auction house also announced that it would be accepting crypto payments for the sale of the largest diamond ever to be auctioned – the Enigma. 

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