Sotheby’s Historic NFT Auction: First Poem Sale via Bitcoin Ordinals Nets Over $11K

Sotheby’s Historic NFT Auction. First Poem Sale via Bitcoin Ordinals Nets Over $11K

In a groundbreaking event that marries the ancient art of poetry with the cutting-edge technology of blockchain, Sotheby’s auctioned off a poem inscribed using Bitcoin Ordinals for over $11,000. The poem, titled “Cord” by Ana Maria Caballero, marks a significant moment in both the literary and digital art worlds, showcasing the inherent value of written words in a digital format.

A Historic Sale: “Cord” by Ana Maria Caballero

Last week’s sale of “Cord” for 0.28 Bitcoin, or approximately $11,430, at Sotheby’s represents a notable milestone in the realm of digital art and blockchain technology. Featured in the online auction titled Natively Digital, this collection focused on exploring the NFT-like Ordinals inscribed on the Bitcoin network, including some of its early notable inscriptions. The buyer of “Cord” not only acquired the digital inscription but also a signed print of the poem, adding a tangible aspect to the digital acquisition.

Michael Bouhanna, VP and Head of Digital Art at Sotheby’s, highlighted the uniqueness of this sale on Twitter, noting that “Cord” is the “first-ever individual poem sold by the 280-year-old auction house,” a distinction not extended to manuscripts and books.

The Significance of the Sale

For Caballero, the auction was more than just a sale; it was an affirmation of the value of poetry as an art form. She expressed her views on the matter, stating,

“It’s an incredible opportunity to make a statement that words and language and poetry have value on [their] own,” emphasizing the singular worth of the poem’s language and text without the need for additional multimedia elements.

“Cord” is set to feature in Caballero’s upcoming book, Mammal, and is a prime example of the poet’s exploration of themes such as motherhood and the complexities of societal and cultural rituals. Sotheby’s described Caballero’s work as unveiling “the reality behind romanticized motherhood, challenging the narrative of sacrifice as a virtue.”

A Diverse Collection

The Natively Digital auction showcased a variety of artists alongside Caballero, including FAR, XCPinata, Nullish, Rudxane, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Popoki, Shroomtoshi, Des Lucréce, and Claudia Hart, among others. One particularly notable sale was an inscription tied to the “Quantum Cats” collection, fetching over $250,000.

Caballero’s inclusion in the auction was the result of a collaboration with FAR, who was in contact with Michael Bouhanna from Sotheby’s with the idea of curating a sale around Ordinals with a theme of “archeology in the blockchain.”

Celebrating Poetry in a Digital Age

Ana Maria Caballero, an award-winning poet, co-founder of the digital poetry and NFT gallery theVerseverse, and a prominent figure in the digital art space, chose the villanelle form for “Cord” to mirror the complex technical nature of Bitcoin. Her work, especially in this auction, underscores the relevance and power of poetry in digital and male-dominated spaces.

This sale of “Cord” not only signifies a new chapter in the integration of traditional arts into the blockchain but also highlights the evolving landscape of art valuation and collection in the age of digital currency.

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