Sotheby’s Banksy is first physical painting sold with cryptocurrency option

Chris Burns - May 13, 2021, 11:52am CDT
Sotheby’s Banksy is first physical painting sold with cryptocurrency option

A battle between four bidders ended with a $12.9 million hammer price for the Banksy artwork ‘Love is in the Air’. This is the first piece of art sold in a Sotheby’s auction where cryptocurrency was accepted as a payment option for a physical artwork. It’s likely this practice will continue with other major sales in the near future.

The painting sold at Sotheby’s was the first to see Sotheby’s work with Coinbase Commerce. The winner of the auction has the option to “pay the hammer price in either bitcoin or ethereum should they choose.” If the bidder does choose to pay with cryptocurrency, they will need to send funds from an approved wallet or exchange. Exchanges pre-approved for this auction include Coinbase, Fidelity Digital Assets Services, Coinbase Custody Trust, Paxos, and Gemini.

Sotheby’s 2021, May 12 Contemporary Art Evening Auction hosted a collection of works, but just this ONE was part of the cryptocurrency program. Buyer’s Premium, Overhead Premium, and any taxes “must be paid in USD.”

The artwork was created and signed and dated 06/05/05 by Banksy. This is an official, real-deal Banksy artwork created by the artist himself, created with oil and spray paint on canvas. The artwork is approximately 35 ⅜ by 36 ⅜ in. 90 by 90 cm., and is accompanied by a Pest Control Certificate of Authenticity (that’s Banksy’s group).

This piece of work was originally acquired from Banksy-associated Lazarides Gallery, London, back in the year 2006. The “present owner” acquired said artwork from that gallery back in 2006. You can find this artwork in the book Banksy, Wall and Piece, London 2005, p. 42, illustrated in color.

Per a Sotheby’s representative on May 12, 2021, the Banksy artwork was sold after a 14-minute bidding battle. This artwork will likely be delivered in a white frame with glass cover surrounding the original white canvas.


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