With over 883 million views since it was first uploaded in 2007, the “Charlie Bit My Finger” home video sold for a whopping R10.65 million ($761,000) on Sunday.
Now, one of YouTube’s most popular videos, though it will soon be removed from the platform.
In the 55-second YouTube clip from 2007, a British toddler named Harry holds his baby brother Charlie. But the adorable domestic scene takes a sudden turn when Harry puts his pointer finger into his brother’s mouth, and to his surprise, Charlie clamps down, spawning the much-memed lines: “ouch, Charlie” and “Charlie, that really hurt”.
The Davies-Carr family announced they would delete it following Sunday’s auction, saying the highest bidder would become “the sole owner of this lovable piece of internet history”, though of course it has been copied, shared and reposted numerous times across the web.
Early internet memorabilia
The auction drew offers from 11 accounts and sparked a bidding war between users “mememaster” and “3fmusic”, the latter of which eventually won with a $760,999 offer.
“Non fungible tokens” or NFTs collectibles, essentially digital assets with a certificate of authenticity created by the blockchain, have exploded in popularity over the past year.
While the idea of buying something endlessly reproducible may bewilder some, a manic appetite for NFTs has taken hold in markets all over the world as buyers vie for bragging rights to a certified original.
Early internet memorabilia, including memes, GIFs, photos and videos, have done particularly well.
In March, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet, from 2006, which reads “just setting up my twttr,” for $2.9 million to a Malaysia-based businessman.
An anonymous buyer snagged Nyan Cat, a 10-year-old animation of a flying, rainbow cat with a poptart body, for $590,000 the month before.
And “Disaster Girl”, a 16-year-old photo of a slyly smiling toddler with a house on fire in the background, was bought by a Dubai-based music studio for 180 Ethereum last month, the equivalent of almost $500,000 at the time.