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Headlines and Highlights: Week of December 8th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of December 8th
December 8, 2023
Keenan Flack

Dust Identity raises $40 Million Series B Round

Dust Identity

DUST Identity has announced an expansion into new industries including sports, luxury goods, and art, marked by the launch of their mobile app that offers product authenticity by linking physical items to digital records. This expansion is bolstered by a partnership with Oxygen Esports, a major North American esports organization, to protect against counterfeit memorabilia and enrich fan experiences.

The company's growth is supported by a $40 million Series B funding round led by Castle Island Ventures, with Amex Ventures and others participating. The investment reflects confidence in DUST's innovative approach to authenticating physical items, offering new opportunities for customer engagement and brand loyalty. DUST is now inviting participation in its beta program and seeking further enterprise integrations and partnerships. PRNEWSWIRE

Collector files Civil Suit Over $43 Million of Watches Sold At Christie’s


Over a hundred luxury watches, including a Rolex GMT Master worn by Marlon Brando and a rare Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie, are embroiled in a legal dispute between Christie's and Omani businessman Mohammed Zaman. Following the Passion for Time sale in Geneva, where Zaman's 113 timepieces sold for over $42 million, a civil complaint filed by Zaman has led to the impounding of the entire consignment. The complaint has halted post-sale transactions, leaving winning bidders advised by Christie's to withhold payment until the legal issue is resolved.

The reason behind Zaman's action against Christie's remains unclear. Speculations arise from irregularities at the auction's start concerning third-party guarantees, which were significantly higher than the initial pre-sale estimates. Notably, a single investor provided a reserve bid guaranteeing a minimum price for every watch, causing a delay in the auction and adjustments to the estimates. An unknown bidder, nicknamed "Paddle 1013," won most watches at prices close to these revised estimates, including Brando's Rolex, which sold for $5.3 million, near its updated lower estimate.

This dispute at Christie's is part of a wider trend of issues in the horological world. The Only Watch charity auction, set to be hosted by Christie's Geneva, has been postponed to the following year due to concerns about fund distribution. As the legal tangles continue, the fate of the impounded watches and the resolution of these controversies remain uncertain, with the watch collecting community eagerly awaiting a conclusion. ROBBREPORT

Collectible Happenings

In "Collector’s Guide to Unopened Sports Cards," Heritage’s Joe Orlando discusses the appeal and value of sealed sports card packs, highlighting the excitement and nostalgia they evoke. The guide examines the factors influencing their worth, such as era, condition, and the set's popularity, while exploring the trend of opening these packs for potential rare finds. INTELLIGENTCOLLECTOR

A Herbert Hoover signed baseball sells for $214,200 against estimates of $25,000 - $50,000 in Hunt/Christie’s auction TWITTER

Year to date PSA has received 2,051 MJ rookie cards for grading, of those, 447 were found to be fake/counterfeit. TWITTER

Art Basel Miami Beach, amidst a volatile market year, sees a slower but steady pace in art sales, with collectors and dealers adjusting to new market dynamics. High-value artworks linger, while reasonably priced works sell quickly, reflecting a shift away from speculative buying towards more considered purchases. ARTNET

Art Basel Miami Beach's 21st edition sees a notable shift with slower sales and a less competitive atmosphere among collectors, contrasting with the fast-paced first-hour buying of previous years. Amidst discussions of a softening market, the fair presents a safer array of art choices, though gems can still be found among the 175 booths. ARTNEWS

Bankers have informally approached potential buyers for a minority stake in Sotheby's as its owner, Patrick Drahi, faces pressure to sell assets due to his telecoms group Altice's significant debt. The Qatar Investment Authority, among others, has been contacted, but Drahi appears reluctant to sell Sotheby's, which he acquired in 2019. FT

Billionaire art dealer Yves Bouvier has settled a long-standing criminal dispute with Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev in Switzerland, ending one of the art market's most significant and contentious disputes. The settlement, which includes a civil case in Singapore, marks the conclusion of a series of global lawsuits initiated by Rybolovlev, who accused Bouvier of overinflating the value of a €2bn art collection, including da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi.” THEARTNEWSPAPER

Art Lewicki, a former professional baseball player turned card dealer, has discovered a remarkable collection of vintage unopened sports card boxes from the 1960s and 70s, including rare items and mint condition single cards. This significant find, reminiscent of past notable discoveries in the hobby, is set to enter the market through Heritage Auctions, exciting collectors with its range of valuable and historical sports memorabilia. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY

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