Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Collection Fetches $19M Bid at Sotheby’s

The latest NFT craze promises token holders access to an exclusive virtual community.

AccessTimeIconSep 7, 2021 at 7:21 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:54 p.m. UTC

The highest bid for a non-fungible token (NFT) collection of 101 bored-looking apes has fetched $19 million at Sotheby’s, surpassing the auction house’s original estimate of $12 million to $18 million.

The auction – set to close in just under two days – features NFTs from Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). They’re among the 10,000 algorithmically generated images on the Ethereum blockchain featuring cartoon apes with a range of traits, outfits and accessories, from bunny ears to fezzes and 3D glasses. The lot also contains six rare “serums” that, when applied to an existing Bored Ape, will mutate its characteristics, thereby increasing its uniqueness and value. (Think face-melting.)

The Sotheby’s auction also includes a second lot of Bored Ape Kennel Club (BAKC) NFTs, a collection of unique digital dogs bred as companions to the Bored Apes. At press time, the highest bid for the BAKC collection reached $550,000, below Sotheby’s estimated $1.5 million to $2.0 million.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club took the NFT world by storm earlier this spring, selling out all 10,000 original Bored Apes upon launch and touting celebrities and athletes as collectors.

The project highlights the community-building aspect that has become increasingly important to new NFT projects. Each Bored Ape doubles as a “Yacht Club” membership card, granting the holder to members-only benefits, including access to the BAYC Bathroom, a “dive bar bathroom” where each ape-holder will be able to paint a pixel on the digital bathroom wall every 15 minutes. BAYC envisions the Bathroom as “a members-only canvas for the discerning minds of crypto twitter.”

“The power of the Bored Ape Yacht Club is in its members and how relentlessly creative, supportive, aligned, and f**king funny our community is,” a Yuga Labs founder who goes by Gargamel wrote in a Discord post. “It’s what has made it possible to go from inception to the biggest auction houses in the world in just four months.”

Individual Bored Apes are currently selling at a “floor price” – the minimum for which one can be had – of 40 WETH, or approximately $140,000 on OpenSea.

It’s not just Sotheby’s. Next, the BAYC will be featured in the rival auction house Christie’s No Time Like Present online auction running from Sept. 17 to Sept. 28. The auction will also include a group of Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks and will mark the very first NFT sale in Asia offered by an international auction house.

Neither Sotheby’s nor Yuga Labs replied to a request for comment.


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Tracy is a deputy managing editor at CoinDesk. She owns BTC, ETH, MINA, ENS and some NFTs.

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