Melania Trump’s auction of NFT, hat and painting fall short of $250,000 opening bid

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<span>Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

What do Melania Trump’s wide-brimmed white hat, a painting of her wearing the hat and an NFT of an animated version of the hat have in common?

They were all put up for auction by the former first lady – and as of early Wednesday, failed to rake in the target price of a $250,000 opening bid.

Trump announced earlier this month that she would auction off the autographed hat, which she wore to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife during an official state visit in 2018. The auction also included a watercolor painting of herself wearing the hat and a non-fungible token, or NFT, of the painting.

She insisted that all bids be made in Solana tokens, a cryptocurrency.

When the auction concluded on Wednesday there were only five bids on the items, each around the minimum requirement of 1,800 Solana tokens.

Although the minimum number of tokens was met, a steep dive in the crypto market over the last two weeks resulted in the final bid being approximately $170,000 – about $80,000 short of the opening bid threshold.

“The auction winner will receive a personalized letter from Mrs. Trump, accompanying the hat and watercolor on paper and certifying authenticity. The NFT will be minted on the Solana Blockchain,” said a statement released earlier this month from the Office of Melania Trump.

It said a “portion” of the proceeds derived from the auction would be given to provide people “who have been in the foster care community with access to computer science and technology education”.

The auction collection, named “Head of State”, marks Trump’s second high-profile venture into NFTs and cryptocurrency. In December, she put up for sale an NFT titled Melania’s Vision: a watercolor painting of her eyes.