Sotheby’s relegates the $10 million CryptoPunk auction to a stand-alone event.

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Sotheby’s has scheduled a single auction for an ultra-rare (and incredibly valuable) CryptoPunk.

At a highly anticipated forthcoming auction, one ultra-rare CryptoPunk will get some additional stage time.

Sotheby’s announced today that CryptoPunk #7530, better known as “Covid Alien,” will be auctioned off in a “special, standalone” auction. The Punk was originally revealed as part of the “Natively Digital” event, which celebrates the history of NFTs and cryptoart with a collection of artworks including what many regard to be the first-ever NFT, Kevin McCoy’s “Quantum,” a cartoon minted in 2014 on the Namecoin blockchain.

The auction follows a string of high-profile NFT sales by rival auction house Christie’s. In addition to a $17 million sale of 9 CryptoPunks earlier this month, Christie’s held a $69 million auction of a Beeple retrospective collage, the highest NFT selling price ever and the third most expensive piece ever sold by a living artist. The transition to a solo suggests that Sotheby’s is keen to capitalize on the trend of NFTs being a recognized form of fine art.

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The value of the alien Punk is a major issue of discussion among NFT collectors. According to on-chain statistics, the last public sale of the Punk was in 2017 for 8 ETH, but the current owner informed Cointelegraph in an interview that he purchased the item in a more recent OTC transaction.

CryptoPunk #3100, the most recent on-chain alien auction, went for 4,200 ETH – more over $10 million at today’s ETH pricing.

“This wont be a popular opinion, but I think [Covid Alien] will go for less than the last one,” cautioned NFT collector and NFT 42 developer Nate Hart. “I expect it to break 5M but I think 10M is probably the upper limit. There is such a limited pool of buyers at that level.”

The current owner of the Punk, NFT collector “Sillytuna“ framed the sale in historic terms.

“I had always planned to do something interesting but didn’t mind when that was, even if ten years away,” he said. “As a proponent of NFTs since before they even had that name, I’m keen on gradually educating the wider world on their potential. To do that we need to lay down markers like this.”

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“This was never about the money,” he added.

However, as Sotheby’s introduction of the Punk highlights, CryptoPunks used as profile images are a means for many NFT OGs to identify themselves: “A Punk says more as a profile picture than as a portrait of the person behind the account.”

Sillytuna, though, has a (much less expensive) backup plan in place: a visored human punk with a matching orange beanie.

Hart, however, is dubious that high-profile auction events are bringing a new crowd to the market.

“I think it’s cool to see NFTs hit these marketplaces but i don’t know that they’re bringing any outsider interest really. Even mega rich people don’t spend 7 figs on something they don’t understand.”

The auction will be livestreamed June 10th at 10:00 AM EST.

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