A private and old art museum in South Korea plans to auction on Thursday two sculptures that have been designated by the government of South Korea as national treasures. The bidders include two DAOs – HeritageDAO and National Treasure DAO. They were not related to each other at the time the media in South Korea was reporting about the planned auction by Gansong Museum. The museum has been financially struggling and the report of planned auction started appearing in the media early this month. Both DAO’s have the same goal: prevent these artifacts from going to any private collection, which would make it impossible for the public to view them.
Inspired by the Doomed Attempt of ConstitutionDAO
Both these DAO’s take their inspiration from ConstitutionDAO, the attempt that failed to purchase an old copy of the US Constitution that is only one among the 13 remaining copies. That attempt failed when a billionaire outbid ConstitutionDAO, but it made people aware of how a DAO with thousands of investors can raise a massive $40 million. Since then, many copycat DAOs have emerged to crowdfund expensive purchases. The attempts have included buying film scripts and golf courses with the help of DAOs.
More Ambitious Effort by Korean DAOs
The attempts by National Treasure and Heritage DAOs are more ambitious. The sculptures include a miniature bronze gilded shrine from the 11th century. It has a statue of Buddha inside the miniature structure. The second one is a bronze-gilded Buddha triad dating back to the 6th century. It is one of the 400 artworks declared as national treasures by the government of South Korea. According to the Korean media, this is the first instance of a South Korea Museum auctioning national treasures.
DAO promoters are negotiating with the museum to purchase the artifacts and retain them in this same way or national museum where the public can view them.
(Update: As per the latest reports, the two national treasures remained unsold at the auction held in Seoul on Thursday.)