NFT art valuation is difficult. Not only are there many different types of artists with such varying price points, but also you must consider private sales and other unusual situations, like “hot potato” contracts (we’ll cover this later). For these reasons, it is extremely tricky to obtain an accurate valuation for NFT art pieces. My first strategy was to simply look at all of the art sold by a specific artist and spit out an average price per token, but then I wondered if it would be more interesting and insightful to consider secondary sales. In the end, I decided to examine how much ROI (return on investment) a collector, when buying directly from the artist, can hope to receive when selling a piece.
I selected the artists: Coldie, Josie, JOY, Hackatao, and XCopy for this analysis because they are popular within the space. I wish I could include many more, but doing so would not have been scalable since I manually collected this data.
Explainer (And Excuses)
Here are a few points to note in case my data is wildly inaccurate.
I am only analyzing sales data for the initial resale. In other words:
Artist sells to 1st collector = Not using this data 🙅♂️❌
1st collector sells to 2nd collector = Using this data 😁👍
The data was taken from OpenSea, SuperRare, and Nifty Gateway, and does not include private P2P transactions. Although P2P transactions surely account for a large amount of sales data, they are far too difficult to determine manually.
I am not including other art platforms like KnowOrigin, Async Art, and MakersPlace. Including data from every platform possible would surely result in more accuracy, but alas, I am just one man and that would take ages.
I collected this data on April 14th, 2020, so accuracy might not be exact by publish date.
Finally, with all of that out of the way, let's check out the numbers.
Coldie generally creates 1/1 art pieces and has a total of 90 different pieces on SuperRare.
# of Artworks on SuperRare: 90 pieces
# of Secondary Sales: 5
Average ROI: 89%
Greatest ROI: 200%
Average ETH Price of Secondary Sale: 0.77 ETH
Most of Josie’s releases are editions of 21/21 and she has few 1/1 pieces. Across OpenSea and Nifty Gateway she has a total of 122 pieces with 9 different variations.
# of Artworks on OpenSea: 101 pieces (8 different variations)
# of Artworks on Nifty Gateway: 21 pieces (1 variation)
# of Secondary Sales: 11
Average ROI: 498%
Greatest ROI: 900%
Average ETH Price of Secondary Sale: 3.5 ETH
JOY generally creates 1/1 artwork and has a total of 97 pieces on OpenSea. It’s important to mention that JOY’s first 82 pieces were sold at 0.001 ETH each, so the ROI in percentage terms is massive. I should also mention that early on JOY implemented a unique contract artwork resale system that can be thought of as a “hot potato contract”. If someone wants to purchase her artwork from another owner, they simply need to bid higher than the previous purchase price. The higher bidder would then send the ETH to the current owner and then the artwork would be sent back to the higher bidder. This super intriguing model of always having artwork on sale is great for bootstrapping collector interest and gamifying art collection.
# of Artworks on OpenSea: 97 pieces
# of Secondary Sales: 34
Average ROI: 7,457%
Greatest ROI: 49,900%
Average ETH Price of Secondary Sale: 0.2 ETH
Hackatao mainly creates 1/1 artwork and has 100 different pieces on SuperRare.
# of Artworks on SuperRare: 100 pieces
# of Secondary Sales: 17
Average ROI: 903%
Greatest ROI: 6,566%
Average ETH Price of Secondary Sale: 3.39 ETH
XCopy typically creates 1/1 artwork and has 122 different pieces on SuperRare.
# of Artworks on SuperRare: 122 pieces
# of Secondary Sales: 17
Average ROI: 407%
Greatest ROI: 1,900%
Average ETH Price of Secondary Sale: 4.595 ETH
An interesting insight that I have gleaned from collecting the data for this blog is that collectors tend to concentrate on specific artists. The collectors who really admire an artist, otherwise known as “power collectors,” tend to buy as many pieces available from the artist as possible. This presents interesting opportunities for both the artists and collectors: artists can price their art lower than their normal market rate in order to attract a wider swath of collectors and can possibly give their most fanatical collectors special benefits. There also seems to be special opportunities in purchasing artwork that is sought after by fanatical collectors. If you are able to obtain a piece(s) that is highly desired by these “power” collectors, then that represents an opportunity to achieve a return on investment. NFT art valuations are undoubtedly challenging, but secondary sales may provide valuable insights into more accurate valuations and understanding the growing market of NFT artwork. I am looking forward to doing more NFT art market analysis in the future.