An NFT version of Nelson Mandela’s arrest warrant raised $130,550 at an auction, with proceeds going to a museum preserving the history of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle.
On August 5, 1962, South Africa’s first democratically elected black president was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years.
The reserve price at the Saturday night auction in Cape Town was 900,000 rand ($61,800), but the non-fungible tokens, or NFT, “sold for 1.9 million ($130,550) via a buyer online,” said Ahren Posthumus, CEO of digital auctioneer Momint, on Sunday.
The purchaser was a foreign national based in the United Arab Emirates.
Due to financial difficulties, Liliesleaf closed its doors in September 2021.
The technology used to sell art as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, is the same as that used to sell crypto-currencies like Bitcoin. The buyer receives a verified digital token proving that the artwork is genuine.
The original 1961 document, now yellowed, with gnarled edges and staple holes on one side, is handwritten in both English and Afrikaans.
It has been kept in the archives of the Liliesleaf Farm heritage site in Johannesburg since around 2006, according to Wolpe.
Between 1961 and 1963, the iconic farm in an upscale northern Johannesburg suburb served as the secret headquarters and nerve center of the then-banned African National Congress (ANC), which led the fight against white minority rule.
Mandela hid there for a while in the guise of a farm worker, dressed in overalls, before leaving to raise funds abroad.