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Thai collectors embrace new art of auctions

Prices and demand increase for 'character-driven' figures and toys

A bidder among many at new auctions at Bangkok's River City mall. (Courtesy of The Art Auction Center)

BANGKOK -- On a recent Saturday afternoon, a curious sound permeated the higher floors of the EmQuartier mall's circular ramps lined with posh eateries. The rhythmic enumerations of an auctioneer rang out until his gavel struck, coaxing higher numbers in Thai from a decidedly high-society group of bidders.

Under the theme of "Profile Picks" (a pun on pictures pasted on Facebook pages), lot after lot was displayed on high-pixel widescreen monitors, which was appropriate because most of the works were not physical art but digital non-fungible tokens -- "unique" works that can be owned exclusively. These were created by the technology company BitKub from the so-called character-driven imagery of emerging young artists with names like Jiggy Boy and Line Censor.

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