[The more I observe people with money, the more I want to puke! This black communist piece of rubbish, Mandela, has been treated by the world as a God. I’m sure Jewry is behind this propaganda move. White men are spurned, and this piece of garbage, is treated like a god. Here in SA they even minted silver and gold coins with his face and name on. When people become rich, and they begin to think like Jews and work with the Jews, then you get all values being turned on their head. And it always works AGAINST THE WHITES! We have to take our world back. There is even one of the casts that is of a Black Power salute. I’m wondering if this rich “white man” in Canada is actually a Jew? Jan]
It’s one of the more unusual deals in the art world. After more than a decade, an Alberta businessman has finally found a buyer for his prized collection of gold castings of Nelson Mandela’s hand. The final price? Ten million dollars — in bitcoin.
Attempts by Malcolm Duncan, formerly of South Africa, to sell the hands back in 2007 were scuppered by controversy over provenance and a possible missing charitable donation. This time he’s had better luck, albeit with an unusual buyer.
Little information is available about Arbitrade, an Ontario-based cryptocurrency company, something Chairman Len Schutzman says is about to change.
Nelson Mandela’s solid gold hand would seem to fit the bill, although as a general rule Schutzman says he’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, he said.
The hands aren’t the first examples of “Mandela Art” to prove tricky to buyers and sellers. After the anti-apartheid revolutionary was released from prison, thousands of pieces of art bearing his name began flooding the market. Various scandals, including allegations of forgery, put a stop to the deluge.
Under Mandela’s own orders, many works were destroyed and the subject remains a touchy one in South Africa to this day. Duncan believes he owns the only four surviving casts of Mandela’s hand, palm and fist, tucked into bespoke imbuia wood boxes. “He cut his thumb quite badly on Robben Island, his right thumb, and you can see it,” Duncan said.
Photographs show Mandela sitting for the castings, which were made by a defunct division of Harmony Gold Mining Co. in 2002. As a condition of being allowed to buy the artifacts, Duncan says he paid double the 1.8 million-rand purchase price with the understanding Harmony would give half to Mandela’s charities. Whether that happened remains unclear.
Harmony has “supplied Mr. Duncan with the necessary paperwork verifying the provenance as requested by his attorneys,” Harmony Investor Relations Manager Lauren Fourie said by email, declining to comment when asked about the status of the donation.
So far, Duncan has been paid a bitcoin deposit that has been converted to $50,000. The rest is due to be delivered in quarterly installments of at least $2 million per extremity, starting April 30.
“They take possession when I have the dollar amount in the bank,” says Duncan, who has insisted Arbitrade guarantee the value in U.S. dollars, and handle the conversion. “At two-and-a-quarter million at a time, they take one hand at a time.”