An NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a physical or digital asset that exists on a blockchain and cannot be replicated; and these digital assets have been selling for eye-widening amounts lately.
NFTs made headlines throughout 2021, despite the first NFT being created in 2014. During this period, artists like Beeple, Pak, and Tyler Hobbs regularly sold their NFT art for over six figures per NFT.
In 2021 NFTs were used to form inclusive clubs, the most popular being Bored Ape Yacht Club, with a floor price of 77.69 ETH (around $120,770 as of August 2022). They’ve also expanded into gaming, music, and, most importantly, modern art.
NFTs are now found in art galleries worldwide, including the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Superchief gallery in New York, and Atlanta’s ABV gallery. As they become more popular, innovative new art pieces continue to sell for millions of dollars.
This article will cover the top 10 most expensive NFT art pieces ever sold.
Right-click and Save As Guy — $7.08 million
Right-click and Save As Guy was purchased by Snoop Dogg, who is known as an early adopter of NFTs, owning a Bored Ape and NFTs from several other collections. This NFT was created as a satire of people who don’t understand how NFTs work and the worth of crypto art.
The NFT description is “Why would I buy it when I can right click and save as?” which is a common objection to NFTs. The NFT now serves as a reminder of how valuable NFTs can be and how blockchain technology focuses on the receipt of art, not the art itself, when it comes to ownership.
CryptoPunk #3100 - $7.6 million
CryptoPunk #3100 is one of 10,000 unique CryptoPunks released for free in 2017. The collection is extremely popular amongst NFT art collectors, with many selling for over $1 million. CryptoPunk #3100 sold for $7.6 million due to two unique traits. Firstly, it’s one of nine alien avatars ever released, and secondly, it had a headband, with only 450 other punks having headbands, making it a unique combination.
CryptoPunk #5577 - $7.7 million
CryptoPunk #5577 was one of the biggest sellers in early 2022, selling for a whopping $7.7 million when the market slowed down. It was purchased by Robert Leshner, who tweeted “Yeehaw” to announce his Cryptopunk purchase, which features a cowboy hat.
TPunk #3442 - $10.5 million
TPunks is a spin-off from traditional Cryptopunks. Also known as Tron’s version of CryptoPunks, TPunk #3442 resembled the Joker and was bought by the Tron co-founder, Justin Sun, for $10.5 million. Despite paying a huge sum for the NFT, Sun donated it to the APENFT marketplace.
Alien Cryptopunk #7523 - $11.75 million
Alien CryptoPunk #7523 is also known as the “Covid Alien,” featuring a mask similar to those worn throughout the 2020 pandemic.
It’s the second most expensive Cryptopunk to ever be sold and features three unique features alongside its alien skin:
- Earring (2459 punks have this).
- Knitted cap (419 punks have this).
- Medical Mask (175 punks have this).
It was purchased by Shalom Meckenzie, who owns the largest share of DraftKings.
CryptoPunk #5822 - $23.7 million
CryptoPunk #5822 is the most expensive CryptoPunk ever sold and is the rarest of the collection. It was sold to Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain, for $23.7 million. As well as being an alien, it’s one of 333 Cryptopunks with a bandana.
HUMAN ONE - $28.9 million
HUMAN ONE was created by Beeple and sold at Christie’s auction for $28.9 million. It was a follow-up of a previous project named The First 5000 Days, which we’ll cover later in this list. The NFT is a physical and digital technology hybrid, featuring an astronaut walking through different landscapes. It’s unique because Beeple coded a smart contract into the NFT, allowing them to change the art displayed. This means unlike other NFTs, which are static, HUMAN ONE will be continuously changing.
Clock - $52.7 million
Unlike other NFTs on this list, Clock was designed for a social cause. It was created by the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Pak; it works as a digital counter for the days Assange has been in London’s Belmarsh Prison for espionage charges.
The NFT was created as a fundraiser for Assange’s defense and sold for $52.7 million in February 2022 to AssangeDAO, a decentralized organization (DAO) made up of over 10,000 Assange supporters. Clock is part of a collection of 29,000 NFTs, all working as tokenized messages.
The First 5000 Days - $69.3 million
The First 5000 Days is another masterpiece created by Beeple, showcasing a collage of 5000 pictures of each day over thirteen years. The NFT was sold at Christie’s first digital art auction in March 2021, selling to Singapore-based investor Vignesh Sundaresan, also known as MetaKovan, who founded the Metapurse NFT project.
As of September 2022, The First 5000 days is the fourth most expensive work from a living artist ever sold at auction.
The Merge - $91.8 million
The Merge is a collection of NFTs created by Pak, purchased by 28,983 people who purchased 321,00 shares, each of which was an NFT. The auction price for each piece started at $575 though it increased by $25 every six hours. This sale made Pak the highest-selling living artist in history, breaking a record set by Jeff Koon in 1986.
Final Thoughts: Will NFT Prices Continue To Rise?
As NFT art continues to evolve, new artists will continue bringing unique art to the blockchain. However, many of these sales occurred during the first NFT bull run and could therefore be seen as inflated.
According to NonFungible, NFT sales fell 47% during the first quarter of 2022 compared to the final quarter of 2021, with NFT sales falling an additional 75% from May to June, according to data from OpenSea.
In August 2022, NFT sales were less than $700 million for the first time since June 2021 ($327 million), with many high-value projects losing their value. This suggests that we might wait a while for another NFT to break into this top 10 list.
Nonetheless, these top 10 NFT art pieces show the potential of NFT art and how it could revolutionize the way we collect art in the future.