First auction in Israel of NFT works of art

The Tiroche family auctioned off Chagalls and Gutmans, Yitzhak Rabin’s Rolex and Ariel Sharon’s cowboy boots (offered by George Bush) at their Herzliya Pituah auction house.

But on Monday, May 30, four NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, created by Israeli artists, were offered for sale — a big first, though the family-owned auction house had been considering it for some time.

“We started thinking about it, but we didn’t want to get into something that we didn’t fully understand,” said Amitai Hazan Tiroche, who runs the auction house with his father, Dov Hazan. (Hazan is the name of his father, Tiroche that of his mother.)

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NFTs are blockchain-based data that have sent the art world into a buying frenzy. This technology offers a form of certificate of authenticity to digital creations, allowing individual ownership of an image that could otherwise be reproduced endlessly.

NFTs can be (very) expensive.

NFT experience “The Currency” by artist Damien Hirst, which offers buyers the choice between a digital token and an IRL artwork (in real life – in real life), brought in $18 million in the initial sale, and Hirst takes an additional 5% from the resale proceeds of NFTs that are traded online.

The four Israeli artists whose NFT works were auctioned by Tiroche last Monday are street artist Tag, who has a particular interest in technology and social media; Shira Barzilay, better known online as Koketit, renowned for her flirtatious line drawings that often focus on the female figure and female empowerment; videographer Shirley Shor; and violinist Moran Victoria Sabag, who combines her music and art.

A non-fungible token (NFT), created by Israeli artist Moran Victoria Sabag, auctioned by auction house Tiroche, located in Herzliya Pituach, on May 30, 2022. (Courtesy Tiroche)

While the works of Tag (estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 dollars) and Shor (estimated between 4,000 and 6,000 dollars) did not find takers, those of Sabag were sold for 3,540 dollars, and that of Koketit , better known, 14,160 dollars, said Tiroche.

Prices have remained lower than NFT prices abroad, mainly because Israeli NFT artists are not as well known, he said.

“The auction is on demand, and people are testing the market,” Tiroche said before the sale.

Over the past year, various entrepreneurs and companies have contacted Tiroche, hoping to work with the auction house on NFT sales.

They’ve been cautious, Tiroche said, given that there’s not a lot of track record for anyone getting into this new artistic field.

“Whenever it comes to NFT, my dad says, ‘I don’t understand, talk to my son, it’s not for me,'” said Tiroche, who is 35. “There is a lot more interest from the under 30s. And often people over 50 say, ‘Don’t tell me.’ »

First auction in Israel of NFT works of art

From the Instagram account of Bored Ape Yacht Club Art. (Credit: Bored Ape Yacht Club Art)

That said, he thinks the phenomenon is here to stay, pointing out that fashion brands Prada, Louis Vuitton and Nike are already working with digital artists to create NFTs.

“Rather than an expensive watch, an NFT is another way to show off what you own — but one that costs half a million dollars,” Tiroche said. “The world is changing and people are going into the metaverse to get the things they want. »

Israeli singer Omer Adam recently told his Twitter followers that he purchased an NFT from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, which features algorithmically generated social media profile pictures featuring cartoon monkeys.

Some NFT buyers have money to invest, Tiroche said, especially if they’re investing in cryptocurrencies.

“You cannot buy a house or a car with cryptocurrencies. You are limited in what you can do,” he said.

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A non-fungible token (NFT) created by Israeli artist Tag, offered for auction at Herzliya Pituah Tiroche auction house, May 30, 2022. (Courtesy Tiroche)

NFT collectors are younger than conventional art buyers, said Tiroche, who hopes to see the children of her top collectors come to her upcoming contemporary art exhibitions, where NFT works might again be on offer.

“When we decided to go for it, it happened very quickly, but it was very important for us not to do it just for the sake of doing it,” he said. “Part of the advantage of NFTs is the medium, and the fact that there is a message to communicate. »

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First auction in Israel of NFT works of art

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