Pepe’s rare NFTs aren’t the most popular digital art collectibles, but they do have an interesting history. Read on to find out what Pepe’s Rare NFTs are, why they’re relevant in Bitcoin culture, and whether or not you should consider collecting them.
What is Pepe Rare?
Rare Pepe is a subset of “Pepe the Frog”, a character that first appeared in Mark Furie’s 2005 comic, “Boy’s Club”.
Pepe the Frog is a green anthropomorphic cartoon with a human body. The cartoon character became an internet meme in 2008 thanks to its popularization on social networks Gaia Online, MySpace and 4chan.
In 2015, Pepe the Frog memes began to be used with hateful intent by the alt-right movement and white supremacists when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president.
The following year, Furie in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League in a social media campaign using #SavePepe to reclaim the symbol from those who used it to spread prejudice.
In 2014, a variant of Pepe the Frog memes called Rare Pepes emerged on a 4chan board. They were shared like trading cards, and some had watermarks that said, “RARE PEPE DO NOT SAVE.” This meant that the artist had not released the image for public use. The following year, in April, a collection of 1,200 rare Pepes was listed on eBay. They reached a high price of $99,166 before being pulled. Rarer Pepe memes have been listed on eBay and Craigslist.
Rare Pepe Cards on Counterparty: The Original NFTs (before they were called NFTs)
Thanks to their popularity, it is perhaps no surprise that Pepe the Frog and rare Pepes have made their way into the crypto space. They appeared on Counterparty – an open source protocol built on Bitcoin – as non-fungible tokens (NFT) in 2016. This was before Ethereum NFTs existed. At the time, the term NFT was not even used yet.
The launch of Rare Pepe NFTs was influenced by the famous SATOSHICARD Spells of Genesis in 2015. The first rare Pepe NFTs were mined on Bitcoin block 428,919.
The rare images of Pepe on Counterparty looked like trading cards and were minted in limited quantities. Through the Rare Pepe wallet, users could buy, sell and store their Rare Pepe NFT cards. Users redeemed these NFTs using a cash payment card called PepeCash.
Additionally, collectors could submit their own rare images of Pepe to the rare Pepe phone book. This was a catalog of all known rare Pepes. The submission guidelines were strict. They read:
“Submissions must be ORIGINAL. Our rarity quality team reviews each Pepe for rarity. (no theft!) Our experts understand that many Pepe’s borrow from each other to some degree, but try to add as much content original as possible. Also, make sure your Pepe is wet. Check the latest submissions on the directory to compare.
The submission cost was around $13 PepeCash at the time. The Rare Pepe Foundation has removed all offensive Rare Pepes that were submitted before they were visible in the directory.
As the NFT community grew, Furie started his own NFT project called Pegz. The PegzDAO sells NFTs according to its signature style. In October 2021, Pegz, in collaboration with NFT marketplace Chain/saw, auctioned a rare Pepe NFT card called FEELSGOODMAN. It was one of the 500 tokens originally minted in 2016 by Rare Pepe Wallet creator Joe Looney. FEELSGOODMAN aimed to bring peace between the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities. Of the 500 tokens, 400 were burned and one was auctioned off. Proceeds from the auction and the remaining 99 NFTs went to the PegzDAO.
How much did Pepe’s rare NFTs sell for?
At a January 2018 live auction in New York (NYC), a rare Homer Simpson Pepe collectible – back then they were simply known as collectibles or crypto- collectibles – sold for $39,000. This was the first digital art auction in history. Many people online slammed the buyer, Peter Kell, for making such an expensive purchase on something they thought was worthless. However, three years later, Kell sold the Homer Pepe for $312,000.
Besides Kell’s NFT, the 2021 NFT craze has seen other rare Pepe NFTs sell for incredibly large sums. Some collectors have used a software protocol called Emblem Vault to reconfigure rare Pepe digital cards so that they can also work on the Ethereum blockchain. They then listed the ‘packaged’ rare Pepes on the NFT market OpenSeawhere some sold for big bucks.
For example, a rare Pepe created around Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto cost $149.99 ETH, or about $500,000 at the time. Another copy of the same rare Pepe NFT sold for slightly less at 111.1 ETH.
However, not all of Pepe NFT’s rare trades ended well. Fury’s FEELSGOODMAN NFT Buyer for follow-up Fury for over $500,000 in March 2022 on the grounds that the NFT was not rare enough. The buyer, who won the auction mentioned earlier in this article, paid 150 ETH for the NFT, which was over $500,000 at the time. According to the complaint,
“Thayer believed he would be the owner of the only FEELSGOODMAN NFT card in circulation, with the other 99 locked in the DAO.”
However, the remaining NFTs were given away to PegzDAO members for free, which reduced the value of Thayer’s NFT.
Are Pepe’s rare NFTs worth collecting?
Rare Pepe NFTs are not as popular as Bored Apes or Crypto Punks. For this reason, these NFTs usually do not sell as much and as high as these two top ranked NFT collections.
Looking at the current OpenSea Advertisement, rare Pepe NFT (on Ethereum) bid or sold for less than 1 ETH. So if you’re looking to collect these NFTs with the goal of cashing in big, your chances may be low unless you have an extremely rare 1/1 card. However, if your goal isn’t financial gain and you just love Pepe’s rare NFTs, you can still collect them for their value as art.
In addition to Ethereum-based Rare Pepe NFTs, you can also purchase items from the original collection that still reside on the Consideration protocol on a handful of Rare Pepe markets.
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