Lloyds Auctions has decided blockchain is the best way to prove ownership of a set of negatives capturing moments in Australia's history, such as Ned Kelly's armour and Phar Lap winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930.
The auction house will mint the Rose Stereograph Company, a collection of original glass plate negatives from over 140 years of operation, via non-fungible token (NFT).
NFTs are used to verify unique items. The blockchain-created certificate of authenticity is used for a digital asset such as art.
SEE: NFTs cheat sheet: Everything you need to know about non-fungible tokens (TechRepublic)
All physical glass plate negatives being auctioned have been minted as an NFT and ownership of the NFT will transfer to the highest bidder at the conclusion of the auction. Winning bidders will receive ownership of both the minted NFT and a tangible original glass plate negative.
"We have taken considerable measures and invested heavily in state-of-the-art technology in order to honour the owners of one of the most significant photographic collections in Australian history," Lloyds Auctions chief operations officer Lee Hames said.
"We believe this technology is a match made in heaven for those wanting to purchase or prove ownership of highly collectable items of value".
As part of its first foray into the NFT space, those keen can bid for ownership on both the Lloyds Auctions platform and in cryptocurrency on NFT marketplaces.
"We felt it was the right thing to do by this collection, to digitise and secure such a significant piece of history to the blockchain for future custodians to appreciate," Hames added.
"Put it in terms of physical art collecting; anyone can buy a Picasso print, but only one person can own the original. Many people may be unaware that validating original artwork and collectables online is extremely difficult, so NFT's offer a new era of rights management."
Photographs included in the auction include The Landing at ANZAC (Gallipoli 1915), Ned and Dan Kelly's Armour (taken at trial in 1880), The Duke & Duchess of York and Daughter Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, Phar Lap Winning the Melbourne Cup 1930, Egyptian Pyramids and Sphinx, and Franco British Expedition.
There will be several auctions published over the next week leading up until the end of June, Lloyds Auctions said.
Meanwhile, John Cleese is selling his own illustration of the Brooklyn Bridge as an NFT.
The NFT market, reached $8.2 million in sales last month, but its value has been restricted to digital collectibles with little real use. Now, a new platform hopes to use NFTs for digital rights management.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have become a hot commodity lately, with artists, musicians, sportspeople, and even entrepreneurs making millions trading them. But are they overhyped and will the NFT bubble soon burst?