National treasures withdrawn from auction block, no bids
Two National Treasures that were up for auction on Thursday failed to get any bids and will be returned to the Kansong Art and Culture Foundation.
An auction that generated more interest than usual ended at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The two treasures were the highlights of the night and the final items.
The starting price for the Portable Shrine of Gilt-bronze Buddha Triad, believed to date to the 11th to 12th century, was 2.7 billion won ($2.35 million). For the Gilt-bronze Standing Buddha Triad with Inscription of "Gyemi Year,” from the 6th century, it was 3.2 billion won.
They were the first state-designated national treasures ever to be auctioned. Kansong said it is selling the two national treasures for financial reasons.
“It is an honor to even call out the names of the National Treasures at an auction,” said Kwang Jong-woo, the auctioneer at K Auction in southern Seoul as he began the bidding.
Despite being the highlight pieces of the night, no bids were made on either artifact.
About a week before the auction, a newly established crypto community called HeritageDAO announced it would buy the two treasures and allow Kansong custody of the originals in Korea, while HeritageDAO sold 49 percent of the ownership in the form of non-fungible tokens (NTFs), keeping 51 percent. However, it couldn’t make a bid after failing to raise enough funds.
BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [firstname.lastname@example.org]