Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2021 Issue

Dr. Seuss Is Coming to Blockchain


You can sign up now for early access to Dr. Seuss digital collectibles.

Dr. Seuss is coming to blockchain. The beloved children's author, who has recently been in some hot water due to racially insensitive drawings he made in the 1930s and 40s, is now leaping into the future. What this means is that there will soon be Dr. Seuss collectibles available as NFTs. That stands for “nonfungible tokens.” If this all sounds crazy, just remember that Beeple's NFT artwork, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, recently sold for $69.3 million. This NFT stuff is serious business, and Dr. Seuss is primed to grab a piece of the action.


As best I understand, which is not much, NFTs are digital copies of something, similar to bitcoin's version of money. However, they are not fungible, meaning they are not like commodities, interchangeable like bitcoins. Being non-fungible, each one is unique. If you own a non-fungible digital token, you own the only one. That makes it more valuable to collectors for whom exclusivity is highly rated. This is why someone paid $69.3 million for a digital image on his computer which looks remarkably similar to every other image of the same artwork that appears on your computer monitor, only this one comes with a non-fungible token.


The token, or NFT, is not something you can hold in your hand any more than is the digital artwork. It is simply something that establishes that you are the owner of the original digital image. Who wouldn't pay $69.3 million for those bragging rights? It does have the advantage of living on forever. It can't be destroyed by fire or water, like physical artwork. Of course, if someone hacks the blockchain network I don't know what happens. I guess you have to have a lot of faith in its security to spend that much money on an NFT.


The World of Dr. Seuss consists of collectibles being launched on the Flow blockchain by its creator, Dapper Labs. This is a fairly recently established business which started with CryptoKitties. You may know them, or like me, not. They are some sort of digital collectible cats that apparently has a healthy following. Last year, they announced several more collectibles would be launched. So far, they have launched only NBA TopShot. They make NFTs available of NBA highlights. They have been licensed by the NBA to do this. According to an article on CNBC.com on March 2 of this year, collectors had already traded $230 million in NBA highlights. Someone paid $200,000 for the rights to a video of Lebron James performing one of his moves.


The World of Dr. Seuss is one of the other crypto-collectibles to be launched. Although announced in July of last year, it has not yet made its debut. However, you can sign up now for early access when it becomes available.


As with the NBA, Dapper Labs has obtained a licensing agreement with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which holds the copyrights to Seuss' material. They are the ones who upset some people a few months ago when they announced they would no longer publish six of Seuss' titles which displayed some insensitivity. Perhaps this will make up some of that lost revenue. In announcing the agreement last July, Susan Brandt, President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said, “Dr. Seuss fans are some of the most passionate fans in the world. By partnering with a company like Dapper Labs, a true trailblazer in the blockchain space, we will be able to offer our fans something entirely new. Digital collectibles will allow Dr. Seuss fans to revisit and revel in their favorite characters in an entirely new way.”


Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs, added, “with our new Dr. Seuss digital decal experience, we are marrying the best of both worlds – allowing fans to interact and discover something entirely new, while tapping into our collective nostalgia for the characters that mean so much from our childhood.”


Somehow or other, these digital collectibles are created. They will feature many of Seuss' famous personalities, such as the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, Horton, Thing One and Thing Two. Presumably, they will not create any of these collectibles based on Seuss' Asian characterizations from the war years and before. Followers can collect them and if they miss out at first, can trade with others to build their collections. I really have no idea how this works, but I don't have to. I have no interest in collecting NFTs. To me, Dr Seuss will always be a beloved author, not a non-fungible token.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 1805 TN Supreme Court Book, John Overton and Hugh White Opinions. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> TN Lunsford Bramlett Archive, incl. Polk White House Invitation, 8 Items. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville. $2,000 to $2,400.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Charles Dickens, 5 Christmas Books, 1st Eds. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 2 Slave Documents, Nashville TN & North Carolina. $700 to $900.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 7 Phillip Roth Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $500 to $550.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 6 Kurt Vonnegut Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $400 to $500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Edward Gorey Items, incl. Print + 2 Books. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Josef Albers, INTERACTION OF COLOR, 1963. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.
  • <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Bartolomeo Caporali, attributed to (fl.1442–1503). <i>The Flagellation,</i> historiated initial ‘D’ cut from an illuminated Missal on vellum [Perugia, c.1485–90].
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Frate Nebridio (1460s – 1490s). <i>The Last Supper,</i> historiated initial from an antiphonal, illuminated manuscript on vellum. Lombardy, probably Cremona, c.1470s. £15,000 to £25,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Lewis David de Schweinitz (1780–1834). Fungorum Niskiensium Iconum, an album of mycological watercolours. Niesky, Germany, c.1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727). <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica,</i> edited by Edmond Halley (1656–1743). London, 1687. £350,000 to £400,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). <i>El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Madrid, 1605. £300,000 to £400,000
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.

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