CURIO CARDS (EST. 2017)
Please note for tax purposes, including potential … Read more
CURIO CARDS (EST. 2017)

Full set of 30 cards plus 17b

Details
CURIO CARDS (EST. 2017)
Full set of 30 cards plus 17b
non-fungible tokens, ERC-1155
wallet address: 0xD035a780DECCF7808875c6a555937B7c44299F45
smart contract address: 0x73DA73EF3a6982109c4d5BDb0dB9dd3E3783f313
Special notice

Please note for tax purposes, including potential sales tax, NFTs may be considered a digital service or digital product and thus Christie’s may be required to collect relevant taxes dependent on local laws. For tax rate information, you may wish to consult an independent tax advisor. Please note, except in the event you are a resident of Mainland China, you may elect to make payment of the purchase price for this lot in the cryptocurrency Ether. Payment in Ether must be made via a digital wallet transfer of Ether to Christie’s. If you do not already have one, please obtain a hosted digital wallet at Coinbase Custody Trust; Coinbase, Inc.; Fidelity Digital Assets Services, LLC; Gemini Trust Company, LLC; or Paxos Trust Company, LLC. The digital wallet must be registered to you, or, if you registered to bid as a company, then in the name of the company. Please note that setting up a digital wallet can take a week or more, depending on the service provider’s account opening requirements. Only Ether payments sent from digital wallets maintained at the above listed platforms will be accepted. We will not recognize payments from digital wallets hosted at other exchanges or self-hosted wallets. Partial payments of a lot from multiple digital wallets are not allowed. You agree, upon our request, to provide documentation confirming that the Ether payment was made from a digital wallet registered in your name and maintained at one of the platforms listed above. Partial payments of a lot from multiple digital wallets will not be allowed. The cryptocurrency amount will be calculated by us based on the most recent published CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate (BRR and ETHUSD_RR) index rate as published at 11 am EST on the date that the sale closes and will remain valid for the forty-eight (48) hour period in which the buyer must make payment in accordance with the buyer’s agreement. The relevant exchange rate will be disclosed in the invoice. For further information and to view our Buyers Premium rates, please view the Conditions of Sale via the link below.

Lot Essay

In 1992, author Neal Stephenson published the seminal techno-dystopian sci-fi novel Snow Crash, in which he coined a phrase that has become incredibly relevant: the metaverse. In Stephenson’s story, the metaverse is a hybrid virtual and physical shared space—though not exactly an idyllic one—comprising the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality and the internet. At the time, the notion that people would one day live out such a dramatic degree of their lived reality in a mostly digital format seemed insane, which is precisely why it worked well as the framing device in a sci-fi novel; today, it’s increasingly the preferred way of living life for many. Your reaction to this fact, whether positive or negative, is probably a visceral one. Various innovations in technology have contributed to our world-building capability in the burgeoning metaverse, but one of the most significant is the invention of the Ethereum blockchain. What makes Ethereum so radically different from its more famous predecessor, Bitcoin, is its capacity to run decentralized applications, allowing users to code and deploy an incredible spectrum of dynamic software such as smart contracts. Since the Ethereum network went live on July 30th 2015, a multitude of brilliant misfits, nerds, swashbuckling anarcho-capitalists and avant-garde technologists have used the blockchain to disrupt traditional notions of finance, commerce, anonymity, censorship, community—you name it—but what concerns us here is how the blockchain put art in the metaverse.

On May 9th 2017, the first ever NFT-based art project launched, billed as a kind of virtual gallery opening. The Curio Cards consist of 30 individually numbered artworks by seven different artists. Each Card is represented by a fixed supply of NFTs ranging in number from 111 to 2,000. There are a total of almost 30,000 Curio Cards in existence, with an estimated 4,000 currently lost or effectively destroyed. All Curio Cards were minted from a smart contract in 2017, and no more will ever be minted again. The aesthetic format of a Curio Card is uniform, with a static or—in the case of cards nos. 23 and 30—animated image and its corresponding card number illustrated in one of the upper corners. The titles of the first ten artworks in the series, all by the anonymous artist Phneep, are laconic in the extreme and simply describe the content of the pictures on the cards. For example, Card no. 1 is titled Apples and depicts—you guessed it!—a shiny red apple with one green leaf hovering in front of a semi-abstracted blue circuit board; Card no. 8, Painting, shows the Mona Lisa at a slightly cocked angle, in a golden frame rendered in a graphic clip-art style, hovering (again) in front of an abstract array of amber light leaks in a dark void. Phneep’s first ten Cards are almost eerily mundane, not unlike the surrealist paintings of René Magritte, whose titles were frequently enigmatic in their simplicity—Magritte was also fond of hovering apples, as evinced in his renowned Son of Man, 1964.

With no. 11, the content swerves abruptly away from definitive illustration into crypto-centric satire with three back-to-back entries from the also-anonymous Cryptograffiti, whose cards aptly deface and replace the corporate logos of iconic financial institutions with overt references to Bitcoin. Phneep runs with this shtick for the next three cards, riffing on the logos for Coca-Cola, Wendy’s and Heineken. Which brings us to the notorious Card no. 17, UASF (abbreviation for User Activated Soft Fork, a highly technical blockchain mechanism) by Cryptopop. The content of UASF by no means warrants notoriety, although it is pretty darn cute: a cartoon chunky bulldog—as in bullish, perhaps?—in a swimsuit and snorkeling goggles, stuffed snugly in a little yellow inner tube, carefully dipping its paw into a swimming pool. What gives UASF its notoriety is the accidental existence of a so-called series of “misprint” NFTs generated erroneously from the smart contract—collectively referred to as 17b. The present lot includes one such misprint. Cryptopop’s entries for nos. 18 and 19 are also canine-centric, featuring three bulldogs riding a Bitcoin-branded rocket to the moon and a circle of various canines at a backroom poker table pawing at their piles of coins, respectively. Which brings us back to Phneep with Card no. 20, a photorealistic rendering of the eponymous MadBitcoins, impeccably groomed, in a tux with floppy Mad Hatter headwear, oversize holographic spec’s and James Bond-style handgun resting gently—but ready—at the hip. The MadBitcoins Card is as close as Curio gets to portraiture, and what a striking portrait of the modern day cryptocurrency trader it is…

Card nos. 21 through 23, by Robek World, depict three of the IRL members of the Curio team in a loose and campy cartoon style—Tom (The Wizard (who is also very obviously MadBitcoins)), Travis (The Bard) and Rhett (The Barbarian). All three are fairly ridiculous, featuring the subjects in extreme closeup against black and white splotchy backgrounds. Tom is shown in his signature trifecta combination of funny hat, glasses and beard, with magical green wisps emanating from his fingertips. Travis is mid-swoon, plucking a lute, inexplicably wearing red gloves and a red ribbon around his neck. Rhett is the most outrageous of all, reimagined as a burly warrior with angry red battle scars, matching leather headband and bracelets, shirtless in black tights with a skull design featuring prominently on the crotch. Rhett’s Card is the first of only two featuring animation, however subtle: The Barbarian flexes his biceps and simultaneously winks in an endless loop of wanton bravado.

Card nos. 24 through 26 are by the first and only fully doxxed artist in the series, Daniel Friedman, and represent an obvious departure from the content of the rest of the group in their use of abstraction. Complexity, Passion and Education depict strangely rhythmic patterns in fragmented monochrome geometric fields. Drawing his inspiration from “brains, ant colonies and other complex systems,” Friedman explains how his Cards explore the ways “global patterns arrive via local relationships,” while noting a parallel between the creative act of drawing and mining a blockchain (curio.cards/). Friedman’s Cards are also unique in their origin as hand-drawn ink works on paper which the artist scanned into a pixelated digital format. The next three Cards in the series are by an artist who at first glance also appears to be fully doxxed, Marisol Vengas. In truth, Vengas is an anonymous artist collective comprised of various members who have never met in the physical world—essentially, a decentralized living artist. Vengas’ Blue, Pink and Yellow render commonplace urban facades in crunchy, blown-out colors, each with a spray of tree branches in the foreground anchoring the composition. The last Curio Card, no. 30—Eclipse—is a glorious, fully animated image of a big yellow sun, a blue sky, fluffy pulsing clouds and the floating cartoon head of a racoon with C’s for eyes (the de facto Curio mascot). So-named for its release coinciding with an eclipse on August 21, 2017, there were also 821 (8/21) editions minted. The animation shows the sun and the clouds popping into the blue sky before the raccoon head enters on a diagonal path from upper right, eclipsing the sun—while winking slyly—before exiting the frame at lower left and restarting the animation. The author of this card is the truly anonymous Thoros of Myr, about whom “little is known” (ibid).

So. What to make of all this? The Cards are a convoluted and motley array of surrealist-tinged kitsch, anti-corporate/pro-decentralization satire, slapstick cartoons, high-minded abstraction and hijinks. The contrasting aesthetics crash into one another, never resolving into a cohesive whole, but rather showcasing the various artists’ individual sensibilities in a kind of ecstatic and weird whirlwind. This is Crypto Art at its most raw and passionate and niche. It’s no surprise that a devoted community of collectors and enthusiasts have coalesced around this historic project, gathering daily in the virtual confines of Discord to share and preach the mysterious, inscrutable gospel of Curio. To love these Cards is to embrace the anarchic, messy, intense freedom of crypto in its pure form as art on the blockchain. As Goethe once said, “…science arose from poetry, and when times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.” Well, friends… that time is now.

(1) PHNEEP, Apples
Supply: 1809
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x6Aa2044C7A0f9e2758EdAE97247B03a0D7e73d6c

(2) PHNEEP, Nuts
Supply: 1630
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xE9A6A26598B05dB855483fF5eCc5f1d0C81140c8

(3) PHNEEP, Berries
Supply: 1584
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x3f8131B6E62472CEea9cb8Aa67d87425248a3702

(4) PHNEEP, Clay
Supply: 460
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x4F1694be039e447B729ab11653304232Ae143C69

(5) PHNEEP, Paint
Supply: 438
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x5a3D4A8575a688b53E8b270b5C1f26fd63065219

(6) PHNEEP, Ink
Supply: 438
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x1Ca6AC0Ce771094F0F8a383D46BF3acC9a5BF27f

(7) PHNEEP, Sculpture
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x2647bd8777e0C66819D74aB3479372eA690912c3

(8) PHNEEP, Painting
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x2FCE2713a561bB019BC5A110BE0A19d10581ee9e

(9) PHNEEP, Book
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xbf4Cc966F1e726087c5C55aac374E687000d4d45

(10) PHNEEP, Future
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x72b34d637C0d14acE58359Ef1bF472E4b4c57125

(11) CRYPTOGRAFFITI, BTC Keys
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xb36c87F1f1539c5FC6f6e7b1C632e1840C9B66b4

(12) CRYPTOGRAFFITI, Mine Bitcoin
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xD15af10A258432e7227367499E785C3532b50271

(13) CRYPTOGRAFFITI, BTC
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x2d922712f5e99428c65b44f09Ea389373d185bB3

(14) PHNEEP, CryptoCurrency
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x0565ac44e5119a3224b897De761a46A92aA28ae8

(15) PHNEEP, DigitalCash
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xdb7F262237Ad8acca8922aA2c693a34D0d13e8fe

(16) PHNEEP, OriginalCoin
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x1b63532CcB1FeE0595c7fe2Cb35cFD70ddF862Cd

(17) CRYPTOPOP, UASF
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xF59536290906F204C3c7918D40C1Cc5f99643d0B

(17b) CRYPTOPOP, UASF
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xF59536290906F204C3c7918D40C1Cc5f99643d0B
An earlier duplicate deployment of card 17

(18) CRYPTOPOP, To The Moon
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xA507D9d28bbca54cBCfFad4BB770C2EA0519F4F0

(19) CRYPTOPOP, Dogs Trading
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xf26BC97Aa8AFE176e275Cf3b08c363f09De371fA

(20) PHNEEP, MadBitcoins
Supply: 2000
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xD0ec99E99cE22f2487283A087614AEe37F6B1283

(21) ROBEK WORLD, The Wizard
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xB7A5a84Ff90e8Ef91250fB56c50a7bB92a6306EE

(22) ROBEK WORLD, The Bard
Supply: 500
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x148fF761D16632da89F3D30eF3dFE34bc50CA765

(23) ROBEK WORLD, The Barbarian
Supply: 250
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xCDE7185B5C3Ed9eA68605a960F6653AA1a5b5C6C

(24) DANIEL FRIEDMAN, Complexity
Supply: 333
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xE67dad99c44547B54367E3e60fc251fC45a145C6

(25) DANIEL FRIEDMAN, Passion
Supply: 222
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xC7f60C2b1DBDfd511685501EDEb05C4194D67018

(26) DANIEL FRIEDMAN, Education
Supply: 111
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x1cB5BF4Be53eb141B56f7E4Bb36345a353B5488c

(27) MARISOL VENGAS, Blue
Supply: 600
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xFb9F3fa2502d01d43167A0A6E80bE03171DF407E

(28) MARISOL VENGAS, Pink
Supply: 400
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x59D190e8A2583C67E62eEc8dA5EA7f050d8BF27e

(29) MARISOL VENGAS, Yellow
Supply: 200
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0xD3540bCD9c2819771F9D765Edc189cBD915FEAbd

(30) THOROS OF MYR, Eclipse
Supply: 821
ERC-20 smart contract address: 0x7F5B230Dc580d1e67DF6eD30dEe82684dD113D1F

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