An NFT version of an arrest warrant for South African icon Nelson Mandela has raised $130,550 (about 119,000 euros) at an auction, the proceeds of which will go to a museum on the island. history of the struggle against apartheid. South Africa’s first black president was arrested on August 5, 1962 and imprisoned for twenty-seven years.
The reserve price at the auction, Saturday March 26 in Cape Town, was 900,000 rand (56,000 euros), but the non-fungible tokens (NFT) “were sold for R1.9 million by an online buyer”Ahren Posthumus, CEO of digital auction platform Momint, told AFP on Sunday. “The proceeds from the NFT Mandela will go to the Liliesleaf Museum to keep its doors open and get back afloat”, he specified. Liliesleaf Farm closed in September 2021 due to financial difficulties.
Selling artwork in the form of NFTs uses the same technology as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The buyer receives a verified digital token that proves the artwork is an original. “It’s really a unique and new way to generate income”Nicholas Wolpe, founder of the Liliesleaf Farm museum, told AFP.
The original document, dated 1961, now yellowed and with staple holes on one side, is handwritten in English and Afrikaans. It has been kept in the archives of the Liliesleaf Farm museum in Johannesburg since around 2006, according to Mr Wolpe.
Between 1961 and 1963, the farm, located in an upmarket suburb of Johannesburg, served as the secret headquarters of the then banned African National Congress (ANC) fighting against white minority rule. Mandela hid there for a while, disguised as a farmhand in overalls, before setting off to raise funds for his cause abroad.
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