When Christie’s held its first annual Art+Tech Summit back in 2018, it was the early days of the NFT marketplaces. So, when 300 attendees found a series of NFTs by a 19-year-old digital artist in their goodie-bags, most of them didn't think twice.
According to witnesses, the team reportedly put the cards into the gift bags and explained the story around them to as many people as possible, but the concept of cryptoart was mostly lost on people and they had little sense of how valuable the work would be down the line. SuperRare’s Zack Yanger wrote in a blog post in September that, “They literally had nuggets of digital gold in their gift bags.”
Whether they appreciated it or not, those attendees were in possession of Robbie Barrat's Nude Portrait #7. Barrat was the first artist to upload his work to the SuperRare digital art marketplace and his machine-learning-powered nude series have soared in value amid the NFT art-boom. He even holds the record for the largest ever sale on SuperRare, when his first-ever tokenized work Nude Portrait #1 sold from first collector Jason Bailey to collector curiousnfts for 75 ETH ($13,265).
In fact, one of the Nude Portrait #7 freebie NFTs has also resold for $13,736. But it seems that some of the now-valuable NFTs have gone the way of most goodie bag swag — in the trash. Two years on, Yanger found that only 12 of the 300 tokens were ever claimed.
So what happens to the other “Lost Robbies?” According to Yanger, it's “HIGHLY likely the other 288 tokens are now lost forever.” He goes so far as to suggest that the story of “The Lost Robbies” and the lack of interest from the traditional art world at the 2018 Christie's Tech Summit could very well end up going down in the history books as “one of the biggest missed opportunities in art history.”
Fortunately, fashion houses did not miss the opportunity. In 2018, Balenciaga enlisted Barrat to create entire collections by training an AI on a data set full of previous collections. Soon after Acne followed suit. Take a look at some of the results below.