Amid broader art-world uncertainties regarding the future of NFTs, this week Sotheby’s presents the fourth installment of its “GRAILS” collection, giving collectors another crack at the storied auction house’s carefully curated selection of significant digital works.

Sotheby’s has positioned the “GRAILS” collection as a pivotal moment in the evolving digital art space, featuring works from blue-chip series and promising rare pieces by some of the most high-profile digital artists.

However, the overarching narrative is the connection to the defunct crypto hedge fund, Three Arrows Capital. The works in the GRAILS auctions derive from Three Arrows’ significant collection of NFTs, which the firm built before its dramatic implosion last year and included noteworthy pieces from the likes of Dmitri Cherniak and Larva Labs.

As Sotheby’s has gradually auctioned off the Three Arrows collection, we’ve seen how the appetites of collectors have remained strong for works by specific digital artists. One example of this is the aforementioned Cherniak, whose Ringers #879 —which sold for $6.2 million — accounted for nearly half of the final total of GRAILS Part II.

That auction, which took place on June 15, saw all 37 NFTs surpass their highest estimates, with total sales nearly reaching $11 million, bringing the series’ overall total at that time to $17 million.

Collectors have also been drawn to works by Tyler Hobbs, whose Fidenza #216 and Fidenza #479 both surpassed $600,000 at previous GRAILS sales, and Snofro, whose vibrant Chromie Squiggle #1780 fetched $635,000, achieving over three times its anticipated high estimate.

Dmitri Cherniak, “Ringers #59.” Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

GRAILS Part IV features works like “Fidenza #721” (Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000) and “Fidenza #943” (Estimate: $60,000 – 80,000) by Tyler Hobbs and Dmitri Cherniak’s “Ringers #59” (Estimate: $30,000 – 40,000).

Sotheby’s curation of the collection underpins the auction house’s continued interest in and commitment to digital art, with a particular focus on recognizing and compensating original creators through royalties on secondary sales. As such,the “GRAILS” collection serves as a window into the complexities of the digital art market. It not only showcases the potential and challenges of NFTs but also offers a case study on the endeavors of entities like Three Arrows Capital in this space.

As part four of the auction series comes to completion this week, it will provide valuable insights into the trajectory of digital art and its intersection with traditional auction houses.


Digital Collecting Market