The arrest warrant of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela, was auctioned in Cape Town, South Africa as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token) on Saturday, 26 March 2022. for R1,9 million (approximately $130,000). Along with the NFT of Mandela's arrest warrant will be one Bored Ape and one Mutant Ape, #5981 and #21962 respectively.

The auction of the 61-year old arrest warrant and other NFTs was run by Momint, a digital platform that helps creators sell their works and earn royalties on them.

"Last year, our first auction was Africa’s largest yet. It saw multiple pieces sold at prices within the top 5% of the most valuable NFT sales worldwide. We raised R105,000for conservation funding and generated overR800 000 for local artists, charities, and important causes. But this year, we’re taking it to the next level. In addition to the main auction at PROOF, we're hosting a smaller Flash NFT Auction. The format will be faster, fun and more friendly and the pieces will start from R1000. Everyone with a general access ticket is encouraged to attend, bid and support up-and-coming creatives," reads a statement by Momint announcing the auction.

📺 NFT of the original 1961 Warrant of Arrest for Nelson Mandela has been minted and will be available 61 years after it was first issued.

Rise of NFTs and crypto art

The year 2021 was arguably the big breakout year for crypto art and NFTs in general. Although both had been around for several years, 2021 saw the birth and growth of several NFT marketplaces spurred on mostly by crypto art (specifically pfp NFTs).

Notably, two of three of the most lucrative pfp projects, CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Mutant Ape Yacht Club, helped NFTs gain mainstream public attention with their ever-growing prices. Recently, a single Bored Ape sold for 100 ETH (Ethereum).

🖼️ Bored Ape #5981 that will be on auction.

NFTs have been viewed as a potential life-saver for those in the creative industries as they appear to help them with the age-old problem of how they monetize their craft. Most NFTs today use the Ethereum Blockchain to host the art and the accompanying tokens and contracts. In most cases, artists also earn a percentage of income as royalties into perpetuity whenever the art is sold. This royalty is credited to their crypto wallet automatically.

Owning a piece of history

The Warrant of Arrest is the one that led to the infamous incarceration of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for 27 years. This was preceded by the 1963 Rivonia trial for treason. The original document, dated 1961, now aged and discolored is handwritten in both English and Afrikaans.

Nelson Mandela's warrant of arrest for treason, dated 1961.
📜 Nelson Mandela's warrant of arrest for treason, dated 1961.

The original document is currently stored at the Liliesleaf Farm in Johannesburg, South Africa. The heritage site operated as the African National Congress' (ANC) secret headquarters during apartheid. Mandela used the farm as a place to hide disguising himself as a farm worker.

The organizers have also stated that the utility of the NFT is that the sellers have built in a 5% royalty into perpetuity for the initial buyer. The buyer will also have exclusive access to the physical document at Liliesleaf Museum.

Liliesleaf Farm will receive proceeds from the auction sale and allow the winning bidder to physically view the original.

— By Tefo Mohapi

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