Nelson Mandela’s Hands Solid Gold Casts sold for $10 Million in Bitcoin
The set, measures 20 pounds of 99.999 pure gold, is composed of a trio of “life-size impressions” of Mr Mandela’s hands and a pair with his palm and fist. Malcolm Duncan, a Canadian entrepreneur who knew Mandela, is the seller and reportedly paid 3.6 million South African Rand for the set of Harmony Gold Mining, which cast the items in 2002. Duncan could not turn them over until hitting a deal with the cryptocurrency exchange; he seems a little nervous about transacting in cryptocurrencies.
Efforts by Malcolm Duncan, formerly of South Africa, to sell the hands back in 2007 had become a controversy over the origin and a potential missing charitable donation. This time he’s had better luck, albeit with an unusual buyer.
The small information is available about Arbitrade, an Ontario-based cryptocurrency company, that Chairman Len Schutzman tells about the change.
The organization is “weeks away” from conducting an initial coin offering and is developing a facility in Waterloo, Ontario, for mining its own cryptocurrencies and plans to trade others. Its key selling point is that it will back all its virtual coins with some percentage of physical metal including gold.
“I’ll seek to acquire gold bars or coins rather than art. Weighing 20 pounds, the value of the gold is a fraction of the artifacts’ purchase price. Their real value is one of publicity, as a means of educating millennials about Mandela — and Arbitrade — through a global “Golden Hands of Nelson Mandela” tour the company plans to launch.”
The hands sent for 10 million in bitcoin aren’t the first examples of “Mandela Art” for proving tricky for those who buy and sell. After the anti-apartheid revolutionary was released from prison, thousands of pieces of art having his name started flooding the market. Several scandals, including allegations of forgery, put a stop to the deluge.
Photographs show Mandela sitting for the fittings, which were made by a former division of Harmony Gold Mining Co. in 2002.
Harmony Investor Relations Manager Lauren Fourie said:
“Harmony has supplied Mr Duncan with the necessary paperwork verifying the provenance as requested by his attorneys.”
Ducan insisted Arbitrade guarantee the value in U.S. dollars.
“They take possession when I have the dollar amount in the bank. At two-and-a-quarter million at a time, they take one hand at a time.”