NFTs came into the digital market sometime in 2014. However, between 2021 and 2022, the industry has vastly grown. The NFT scene is continually changing with the discovery of more use cases and applications.
In the long term, NFTs are constantly setting new price and valuation records. This guide highlights the top 10 highest-sold NFTs from inception to September 2022. However, things will change in the future as more NFTs with more value join the landscape.
The Merge — $91.8 Million
The Merge NFT, an NFT virtual artwork fashioned by an anon artist called Pak, is the most expensive NFT asset ever sold. The piece of art was auctioned as an NFT via the Nifty Gateway towards the end of 2021.
‘The Merge’ was initially priced at $91.8 million. Due to its colossal valuation, This token, although non-fungible, was split into 312,686 coins. A total of 28,983 different buyers purchased the Merge.
Some don’t consider this token one of the most expensive since it was purchased by nearly 30k people instead of one person. However, whatever the case, ‘The Merge’ was a single piece of NFT and is the most expensive to date.
Everydays, The First 5000 Days ($69.3 Million)
Everydays, The First 5000 Days, an NFT from the Beeple’s collection, takes the second spot as one of the most expensive NFTs to sell. This NFT is a piece of art that contains 5000 different images, which were created in 13 years beginning in May 2007 by an artist called Beeple. It’s by far his most expensive NFT.
According to reports, the NFT sold in 2021 at over $69 million in the Christies Auction House. Vignesh Sundaresan, a Singapore-based programmer and top investor in the crypto landscape, bought the NFT. Now, out of all NFTs sold to a single investor, this is the most expensive.
Clock — ($52.7 Million)
The third most expensive piece of NFT ever sold is the Clock. Drafted by Julian Assange and Pak, Clock is an NFT focused on helping settle the former’s legal bills. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is currently surrounded by a controversial case. He is awaiting extradition from the UK to the US and 175 years in jail.
The Clock NFT was sold for 16,953 ETH ($52.7 million) in February 2022 via Assange DAO. Assange DAO is a collection of about 10 thousand Assange supporters who purchased the Clock NFT. The Clock NFT is part of the Censored collection which currently features about 29 thousand tokenized messages, all available via Opensea.
Human One – $28.9 Million
Human One is the fourth most expensive NFT ever sold and the second most valuable NFT provided by Beeple after Everydays: The First 5000 days. This NFT is a dynamic physical/digital hybrid displaying an astronaut who is always striding through changing landscapes within a 4-by-4-foot box.
This NFT also has an inbuilt smart contract that remotely controls everything displayed. Therefore, the digital piece of art is an ever ‘in progress’ NFT. Beeple uses the smart contract to update the application constantly. This NFT was sold for $28.9 million at the Christies auction on November 9th, 2021.
CryptoPunk #5822 – $23.7 Million
CryptoPunks is perhaps the most trusted NFT collection with the most loyal fanbase in the digital blockchain landscape. CryptoPunks collection was founded in 2017 by Larva Labs, inspired by Daft Punk, the London Punk scene, and the cyberpunk movement.
One NFT in this collection, #5822, is the most valuable. It sold for about $23.7 million (8000ETH) to the CEO of Chain, Deepak Thapliyal, in February 2022.
Why is this NFT valuable? Because it’s among the 9 NFTs in the rarest alien edition. Due to its rarity, Cryptopunk is going to remain highly valuable.
CryptoPunk #7523 – $11.7 Million (4700ETH)
Another one of the only 9 Alien Cryptopunks, #7523, is also one of the most valuable NFTs of our time. This NFT is famous by the name “Covid Alien” because of its resemblance to a facemask. It is among the only 175 NFTs with a medical mask, 419 punks with knitted caps, and 2459 NFTs with earrings.
This NFT was sold at $11.7 million, basically around 4700 ETH, to Shalom Meckenzie, Draftking’s largest shareholder. The sale occurred in June 2021 as part of the Natively Digital Auction by Sotheby.
This NFT is valuable because of its rarity. However, its second collector Sillytuna and its original minter, Straybits, are famous in the NFT landscape. Their prominence and success in NFT sales were a massive win for the NFT space.
Tpunk #3442 — $10.5 Million
Tpunk is a version of Cryptopunk but based on the Tron blockchain network. This collection consists of 10 thousand top-tier avatars. The Tpunk #3442 resembles a famous comic character, The Joker.
In a sale held in August 2021, Tron’s founder Justin Sun purchased Tpunk #3442 at 120 million TRX, which is $10.5 million. Sun donated the NFT to the APENFT marketplace.
Why is this Tpunk NFT very valuable? It’s simply because of its inspiration, the precious CryptoPunks collection but in a different blockchain.
Another NFT from the Cryptopunk collection, #4156, is the eighth most expensive NFT. It is the third most expensive Cryptopunk ever sold.
#4156 was sold in 2021 for about $10.26 million (2500ETH) by an anonymous collector. This particular NFT has exchanged hands quite a couple of times in its lifetime.
This NFT has been expensive because it’s one of the rarest Cryptopunks NFTs. It has a bandana and Ape skin. Of all Cryptopunks, only 5% have a bandana, while only 0.24% have Ape Skin. This NFT could be rarer than the earlier mentioned Alien Skin NFT.
Another one of Cryptopunks collection #5577 makes the list of the top 10 most expensive NFTs. This NFT was sold earlier this year for $7.7 million. According to reports, this NFT was purchased by Robert Leshner, the founder of the Compound DeFi network.
The NFT resembles a cowboy with a hat. When finalizing the purchase details, Robert tweeted, “Yeehaw.”
Sold in March 2022, this NFT closes our list of top NFT sales of all time. This NFT was sold just a day after another NFT of the same collection, #7804, was sold for $7.6 million. Cryptopunk #3100 was sold for $7.67 million.
Considering the performance of all the Cryptopunk NFTs above, it’s safe to say that NFT enthusiasts immensely love this collection. This NFT is rare, being part of the alien avatars with blue and white headbands. It’s one of the only 450 NFTs with headbands. Its high rarity is mainly the reason for its value.
This guide has been looking into the top 10 most expensive NFTs. Those NFTs were sold for colossal value and attracted massive traction within the crypto landscape.
Note that we did not list Cryptopunk #9998, which some consider the most expensive NFT. While the NFT was sold for $532 million, it was a wash trade. The owner transferred the NFT to his different wallets using his funds. This was a ‘fake trade.’
Every other NFT in this list was a clean sale to another individual or a set of people. Those are the most expensive NFTs.