Ana Maria Caballero’s poem, “Cords,” fetched 0.28 Bitcoin or $11,430 last week at Sotheby’s Natively Digital auction. This achievement marked the first-ever sale of an individual poem by the renowned auction house.
The sale of Cords holds profound significance for Caballero, who perceives it as an affirmation of the intrinsic value of written poetry. In her view, this auction underscores the notion that words, language, and poetry possess inherent worth independent of any accompanying visuals or sensory experiences.
“This is an incredible opportunity to declare that words, language, and poetry have value on [their] clean,” Caballero told Decrypt after the sale.
“Not with anything else, not with visuals, not with sound, not with any other type of experience. It’s just the language of the poem, just its text, that was sold.”
Cords is crafted in the style of a villanelle, a poetic form consisting of 19 lines and five stanzas. This style is also characterized by the repetition of two rhymes and two lines. She used the centuries-old form to pay homage to Bitcoin’s complex chain, symbolizing the cryptocurrency revolution. The auction for Cords garnered significant attention, with over 40 bids submitted.
Exploring themes of motherhood, pregnancy, and embodiment, Cords holds added significance in a predominantly male-dominated space, according to Caballero.
Sotheby’s wrote on X, “Ana explores the influence of biology on societal and cultural rituals. Her work uncovers the reality behind romanticized motherhood, challenging the narrative of sacrifice as a virtue.”
As part of the acquisition, the purchaser of Cords will receive a signed print of the poem. The poem will also be featured in Caballero’s upcoming book, Mammal.
Caballero is renowned for her literary accolades, such as the Beverly International and José Manuel Arango National Poetry Prizes. In 2021, she made waves with the launch of the Verseverse, a digital poetry and NFT gallery.
Highlights of the Natively Digital Auction
The Natively Digital auction showcased not only Caballero’s poem but also an array of innovative artworks exploring the intersection of blockchain technology and creativity. Artists such as FAR, XCPinata, Nullish, Rudxane, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Popoki, Shroomtoshi, Des Lucréce, and Claudia Hart contributed to the diverse lineup.
FAR, a prominent figure in the digital art scene proposed the curatorial theme of “archeology in the blockchain” for the auction. Collaborating with Taproot Wizards, FAR introduced “Genesis Cat,” a one-of-a-kind artwork within the Quantum Cats collection.
“I was in contact with Michael Bouhanna from Sotheby’s because he wanted to set up a sale for Ordinals. I thought the theme of conservation should be archeology in blockchain,” FAR said. So I thought having a poem would be interesting, and I invited Ana.”
This piece holds historical significance as Taproot Wizards’ inaugural public collection, featuring “3333 playful cats that will evolve alongside the Bitcoin protocol itself.” Notably, an inscription from the Quantum Cats collection fetched over $250,000.
In addition, Sotheby’s also unveiled three rare satoshis for sale in the auction, transforming ordinary satoshis into coveted historical artifacts. This concept of rare sats opens up a new avenue for collectors within the Bitcoin ecosystem, with the Sat Republic team partnering with Sotheby’s to provide expert insights into the historical significance of these rare satoshis.
Collectors interested in Bitcoin’s evolution were drawn to unique offerings such as the Black Rare and Rodarmor Rare Sat, which added a numismatic dimension to the auction.