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Sotheby’s to Accept Cryptocurrency at HK Sale

September 12, 2021

RAPAPORT... Sotheby’s will allow buyers to pay in Bitcoin or Ether for all items at its upcoming Hong Kong auction, following a successful experiment with cryptocurrency earlier this summer.

A Harry Winston diamond necklace will lead the September 24 auction, which Sotheby’s has called “Diamonds: The Dazzling ∞,” using the mathematical symbol for infinity. The piece is the auction house’s first signed jewel to be offered with a cryptocurrency option, it said last week. The necklace, which carries an estimate of HKD 36 million to HKD 46 million ($4.6 million to $5.9 million, or up to 128 bitcoins), contains a total of 177.51 carats of diamonds, designed as a cascade. That includes nine graduated pear-shaped, D-color, internally flawless stones.

The sale will also feature several loose diamonds ranging from 8.08 to 50.05 carats. A brilliant-cut, 11.88-carat, D-color, VS1-clarity diamond has a presale valuation of up to HKD 9.5 million ($1.2 million, or 26 bitcoins), while an emerald-cut, 10.88-carat, D-flawless, type IIa stone has a high estimate of HKD 8 million ($1 million, or 22 bitcoins).

Sotheby’s will hold the sale online. Bidding opened last week, it noted. Consumers also have the option to pay for items in traditional currency.

In July, the auction house sold a 101.38-carat diamond for cryptocurrency worth the equivalent of $12.3 million (approximately 366 bitcoins or 5,818 ether), the highest price for a jewel or gemstone purchased through that method. That sale was the first time Sotheby’s had offered jewelry for purchase with cryptocurrency.

Image: The Harry Winston necklace. (Sotheby’s)

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