The Czech Republic’s Lobkowicz family — which once sponsored Beethoven, lost everything to the Nazis and Communists and then reclaimed their castles and artwork in the 1990s after the fall of communism — will auction a slew of non-fungible tokens and host a conference next month in Prague at the Lobkowicz Palace.
In the 1990s, the family eventually got its castles back, plus a collection of 20,000 artifacts, including works by Bruegel, Canaletto, and Velázquez, as well as hand-annotated manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven. Because they are considered to be national cultural treasures, the pieces can’t be sold without the government’s permission or leave the country. So the Lobkowicz family has financed taking care of the collection in large part through tourism and events. Some 100,000 people a year visit the collection.
But the pandemic put all that on pause. Lobkowicz, whose title is director of digital media and innovation, says they are trying to gin up interest and stay relevant, exploring a new type of fundraising. “That’s how we are going to stay around for another 600 years,” he said in an interview. “I can see NFTs as a new frontier.”
People will also be able to purchase blockchain-based proofs that they contributed to restoring certain items within the private collection. Several artists will sell NFTs with half of the proceeds going towards restoration. One NFT for sale will represent an animated piece showing degradation and restoration of a panel of scrafitto of Hercules on a wall of the Nelahozeves Castle, one of the family’s four properties in or around Prague.