NFT mania continues as Bored Ape auction pulls bids in the USD 4 million range at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s is auctioning off 100 Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. Bids have gone past USD 4 million. What’s driving collector/investor interest?

5 min readSep 10, 2021
On the block(chain)

NFT sensation Bored Ape Yacht Club has quickly become one of the most sought after NFT projects in the crypto space, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in trading volume for its cartoon collection of primate images since the end of August.

Market interest is so intense that another stalwart of old-school finance has jumped into the ring: A-list auction house Sotheby’s, which opened an auction of Bored Ape NFTs last week and pulled in bids in excess of USD 4 million for the complete package of 100 images.

The Sotheby’s sell-off is sponsored by Bored Ape creators Yuga Labs, who’ve put up 100 options from their own NFT hoard. The full set of Bored Apes encompasses 10,000 different images, so the auction’s winner will have roughly one per cent of the entire collection.

Sotheby’s says the auction is targeting total bids of between USD 12 million and 18 million before it concludes on September 10th. At the time of writing, a top bid of USD 4.4 million had come in just two hours after the auction’s opening. Sotheby’s takes cryptocurrency for payment, along with standard payment options.

What’s an NFT?

An NFT (non-fungible token) is like a digital deed of ownership over a digital asset, typically a work of ‘art’ like the randomly generated hairy hominids in the Bored Ape collection.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club isn’t the only auction Yuga Labs is listing on Sotheby’s. A separate auction for Yuga NFTs called ‘Bored Ape Kennel Club’ also went live last week. The Kennel Club NFTs are companion NFTs given for free to Bored Ape holders. The 100-piece collection hopes to pull in between USD 1.6 million and USD 2 million. The top bid at the time of writing was USD 423,000.

Potential bidders can see the auction’s contents on the Sotheby’s website or view it on a virtual gallery hosted by Decentraland, an Ethereum-based online ‘metaverse’ (virtual shared space). Members can freely wander and explore the metaverse with other Decentraland users and view Bored Apes images on its virtual gallery walls.

Interest in NFTs has been all over the news in recent months. However, the bidding frenzy around Bored Ape has taken it to a new level. While the Sotheby’s sale was kicking off, the project achieved a new single-NFT sale record when one Bored Ape image went for 600 ETH, roughly USD 2.2 million, on NFT market OpenSea.

Celebrities have been amongst the first to jump into the NFT market. Golden State Warriors basketball champion Steph Curry bought a Bored Ape NFT last week for USD 170,000 in ETH, making him only the latest professional athlete to join the NFT owner’s club. Drinks brand Arizona Iced Tea invested in one last month to use in an advertising campaign.

In total, the complete Bored Ape Yacht Club collection has raked in more than USD 400 million in trading volume since launching in April. Meanwhile, sister project ‘Mutant Ape Yacht Club’ has pulled in more than USD 200 million of its own, while ‘Bored Ape Kennel Club’ has passed the USD 75 million mark.

The broader NFT market has also skyrocketed to set new records for trading volume over the Summer. OpenSea reported more than USD 3.3 billion in ETH-denominated trading volume in August alone. Numbers from CryptoSlam show the ethereum-based Axie Infinity game generating USD 840 million in trading volume in the same period.

USD 96 million in an hour

In late August, Yuga Labs’ separate Mutant Ape Yacht Club project raised USD 95 million in a public sale of 10,000 images, sold in a single hour on a Saturday night.

Bored Ape Yacht Club was initially made up of 10,000 algorithm-generated NFTs. Each had different characteristics, some smoking cigars, for example, or others wearing tweed suits. The project took inspiration from an earlier NFT collection called CryptoPunks, whose 10,000 computer-generated avatars have risen and risen in value since launch.

To create a Mutant Ape NFT, Bored Ape token holders were airdropped one of three serums: M1, M2, or M3 (mega mutant) to be injected into a bored ape of their choosing. After being jabbed with the digital serum, the resulting ‘Mutant’ Ape is changed in different ways, creating a new asset.

It was a windfall for Bored Ape holders since they could hold onto their first NFT Ape purchase and still mint a trade-able extra token for more money.

Mutant Apes are now selling for a minimum of 7 ETH, or roughly USD 20,000.

Bored Ape owners like NBA star Curry sometimes add their ape to their Twitter profile to telegraph their membership in the exclusive NFT club.

As of this writing, data from CryptoSlam lists Bored Apes as the fifth-most successful crypto-collectable project of all time. The asking price for the cheapest Bored Ape is currently about 25 ETH (USD 80,000).

Adding to their windfall, Bored Ape owners also received a companion dog NFT by airdrop from Yuga Labs. A single Bored-Ape-walking-its-dog bundle dog sold for USD one million on August 10th.

More ape offshoots

Hoping to cash in on the original’s success, one of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s original artists has launched another exclusive NFT club, the Sneaky Vampire Syndicate.

The vampire-themed project says it plans to allow the public to mint 8,888 NFTs over the next few weeks at a price of 0.07 ETH (USD 310) each. The kick-off had already signed up 11,000 followers after its server went live on Wednesday last week.

Like its Bored Ape Yacht Club originals, Sneaky Vampire Syndicate offers NFT buyers a collection of auto-generated illustrated portraits that are tokenized using Ethereum as ERC-721s. Some vampire images are rarer than others, and seven of them won’t be computer-built. Instead, they’ll be had-rendered by the digital artist Migwashere.




Cryptocurrency news and analysis by FinTech writer Mark de Wolf. Visit