Roundup: Russia art world under pressure, legendary Honus Wagner up for auction, and CryptoPunks pulled last minute
Moriah Costa

📰 In the Headlines

The invasion of Ukraine is destroying Russia’s art world  

• Most of Russia’s art world supports Ukraine’s independence. But that hasn’t stopped them from feeling the effects of Putin’s decision to invade the country.  

• Sales at Russian galleries have dropped off amid ongoing uncertainty and news of new sanctions against Russia. Many in Moscow’s art world fear that they will face boycotts from museums in the West in response to their leader’s actions.  

Fun Fact: Russia’s art market has been under pressure since the Crimean invasion in 2014 sparked boycotts, causing many gallerists and artists to move abroad A

Honus Wagner card with a crazy backstory is going up for auction

• The rare “All-Star Café Wagner” is going up for auction for the first time in almost a decade. Its backstory will likely lead it to sell for somewhere in the seven-figure range.

• The card was loaned out by Charlie Sheen to the All-Star Café in New York. One of the chefs stole the card from the display case and sold it to a sports card dealer with a fake backstory. The FBI got involved and the card was returned.  

Fun Fact: The market for T206 Honus Wagner cards has never been hotter. Last August, a T206 Honus Wagner sold for a record $6.6m, and a fragment sold last month for almost $500k.

A $30m batch of CryptoPunks was pulled from a Sotheby’s auction right before the sale  

• Last week was going to be a historic moment: Sotheby’s planned to auction 104 CryptoPunks in one lot worth up to $30m. Then, just minutes before the sale was slated to start, the owner pulled the work.

• The owner of the Punks, which were bought in a single blockchain transaction, announced the decision on Twitter: “nvm, decided to hodl.” Mentions of the lot quickly disappeared from Sotheby’s website.  

Fun Fact: When works are pulled from auction at the last minute, it’s usually because there’s no interest. Some experts think the owner saw the plummeting value of crypto and didn’t want to risk a market correction.    

🔥 From the Otis Collection

• This week in the Otis Discord, we’re talking about: Chromie Squiggle #2241, buyout offers, and more — join the conversation.  

• A rare Pikachu Illustrator card sold for $900k, the most ever paid for a Pokémon card. Several Pokémon cards are trading on Otis, including: Mewtwo, Blastoise, Raichu, and Venusaur.  

• A signed pair of 1986 Michael Jordan game worn Air Jordan 1s sold for $675k on Saturday. The MJ game-worn “Shattered Backboard” Jordan 1’s are trading on Otis.  

• A Bansky piece, Bomb Middle England, is expected to fetch up to $400k when it goes up for auction at Julien’s Auction House in Los Angeles on March 16. Bansky’s Police Car, 2003 is trading on Otis.

• Serena Williams paid tribute to the late designer Virgil Abloh at the Off-White Paris fashion show. Abloh’s Nike x Off-White sneaker collection, “The Ten,” is trading on Otis.  

• The highly anticipated Yeezy Gap/Balenciaga collection dropped three months ahead of schedule. Yeezy Collections I and II are trading on Otis.

• MSCHF is turning the SATs into a “winner takes all” battle royale, in their latest art stunt called the MSAT. MSCHF’s Medical Bill, 2020 is trading on Otis.

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