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DAO To Make Jodorowsky’s Dune Manuscript Public: Member Won $3M Bid


Following Constitution DAO’s lead, a group called Dune DAO went for a copy of the mythological Frank Herbert and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune manuscript, wanted by many and seen by few. A plot almost as interesting as the saga took over Christie’s auction, where the DAO won the final bid, but with a twist.

Just a few days after ConstitutionDAO made history crowd-raising over $46M in an attempt to buy a rare printing of the U.S. constitutions, other groups are following their steps to purchase valuable objects in hopes to make them accessible to the public.

This time, DuneDAO aimed to bid for a copy of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune manuscript at a Christie’s auction. They hoped for a total of $500,000 in contributions and actually hit $700,000. Although the final price was way higher, they still managed to secure it.

Christie’s had valued the manuscript’s copy between €25,000 ($28,100) and €35,000 ($39,345), but it sold for over $3 million. They admitted to failing at recognizing the interest that the newest film based on Dune raised, reported The Guardian.


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The group had stated before the auction:

Dune DAO intends to crowdraise the purchase, and then collectively explore options to digitally preserve the manuscript and make it accessible to the public for the very first time, such as through public viewings and digital lending (to the extent permitted by law).

Since distribution rights are not granted with the purchase, DuneDAO must investigate carefully legal ways to make this copy accessible.

The group used the same platform as ConstitutionDAO, contributions were “handled via JuiceBox”. Each contributor got governance tokens ($SPICE) accordingly to the donated amount. The $SPICE token gives each a vote in the future of the money, the manuscript. It does not mean a fractionalized ownership of it.

Why Dune Dao Wants The $SPICE

In a few words, Jodorowsky did compare the original Herbert’s novel to Proust.

As explained in Frank Pavich’s documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, this was one of the most ambitious projects in cinematic history, but it never saw light because they lacked $5M to meet the $15M total budget.

Its manuscript, however, records the dreams behind a 15-hour movie-to-be that created a landmark and allegedly inspired many famous movies to follow -like Star Wars, Alien, and Blade Runner.

It features art from a few of the most renowned artists at the time, including Jean “Moebius” Giraud’s storyboard with over 3,000 illustrations, H.R. Giger’s concept art, Chris Foss starships’ designs. Pink Floyd was to contribute to the soundtrack.

Orson Welles was to impersonate “Baron Harkonnen” and Salvador Dalí  “The Emperor”. The list of ambitious ideas keeps going, explaining the reason for not meeting the budget, but also what makes fans call “the Dune Bible” a mythical sci-fi object.

What Went Down At The Auction

Based on the price previously valued by Christie’s, DuneDAO thought they would secure the auction raising over $750k. However, as the price went higher, a core member gave the rest of the money himself, roughly $2.3M.

Reportedly, only three years ago another copy sold for around $42,500. Besides Christie’s claims on the unexpected 50x raise, a Twitter user alleged another bidder had “publicly let their top price slip”. The manuscript’s winning bid was $2,4M plus 20% christies auction fee, plus 5.5% VAT, for a total of $3,160,062, the group stated.

“I just want people to experience it,” said the core member who contributed the winning amount. Now, the money is meant to be raised and reimbursed so the DAO can obtain the copy. They are “figuring out how to navigate the maze of legal issues” before paying him back.

DuneDAO has 30 days to settle payment, which they hope will give time to debate and vote on future plans for the physical object. They have now raised their target to $4,200,000, taking into account additional costs for storage, maintenance fees, digitization, and more.

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