Cristiano Ronaldo $1m NFT card to be auctioned by Bonhams

By Raffaele Redi

The auction will start on 1 November and run until 11 November

Cristiano Ronaldo NFT card                                 
The NFT shows him in the black and white kit of Juventus but remains playable – Photo:

London-based auction house Bonhams has announced it is to auction off a one-of-a-kind Cristiano Ronaldo non-fungible token (NFT) trading card, minted by Sorare, estimated to be worth between $800,000 and $1.2m.

The NFT is a unique card of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, minted for the 2020/2021 season by the fantasy football platform and is officially licensed by the player and his team. The card shows him in the black and white kit of Juventus, but is still usable in the game despite Ronaldo’s transfer to Manchester United.

Bonhams’ head of digital art, Nima Sagharchi, said to “The sale of the Ronaldo card is a first for us but as we expand our activities in the field of NFT’s and digital art it is an area we hope to develop in the future.

Sports trading cards have been valued and collected for over a century, and 2021 is very much the year of the sports card with physical cards representing Lebron James, Luka Dončić and Tom Brady each already having sold for millions of dollars. The Ronaldo card on offer is unique and, as one the greatest players of the modern era, arguably the most desirable card in the game,” Sagharchi added.

The auction will start on 1 November and end on 11 November. The auction house said it is accepting ether as a means of payment.

Sorare cards

The supply of Sorare cards is limited, and the use of the blockchain means that the digital cards have provable scarcity. They come in three formats: unique, or 1 of 1; super rare, or 1 of 10; and rare, or 1 of 100.

The Sorare platform allows players to buy, sell, trade and manage a virtual team with digital playing cards. The game uses blockchain technology based on Ethereum and was developed in 2018 by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montford. As with traditional fantasy football, teams are ranked based on the performance of their players on the real-world football pitch.

“Sorare presents us with the natural evolution of this format, a fantasy trading card game in digital form with cards that accrue rewards. Bonhams has always aimed to push boundaries in our sales and to be the first auction house to offer an NFT of this kind is a very exciting prospect, particularly as this NFT is of the great Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Sagharchi.

The oldest FA Cup

Bonhams has a strong record of selling sporting memorabilia; in 2020, it sold the oldest Football Association (FA) Cup, one of the most valuable football trophies in the world. The cup had an estimate of £700,000 to £900,000 ($965,538 to $1.2m), and was purchased for £760,000 by Manchester City Football Club.

The trophy was in use from 1896 to 1910 and was awarded to many famous teams including Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. Realising that no patent had been taken out on the design, the FA withdrew it in 1910 and commissioned a new cup – a forerunner of the one in use today, as Bonhams explained.

The FA presented the withdrawn cup to their President, Lord Kinnaird, a formidable football player appearing in a record nine FA Cup Finals, in recognition of his 21 years of service.  The trophy remained in the Kinnaird family until 2005. Until the sale, the privately owned cup has been on loan to the National Football Museum in Manchester, where it has formed part of the display.

Further reading: Premier League contemplates entry into NFT space with Sorare

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