The first emoticons at auction in the United States
Sylvie Claire / September 12, 2021
The first emoticons, the famous smiley and its counterpart frowny, are placed on auction in the United States. This online sale The First Emoticons: The Smiley :-) and Frowny :-( will be open until September 23, said the Dallas-based auction house Heritage Auctions.
This work is unique and will be sold as a non-fungible token (NFT, for 'non-fungible token'), said the institution, adding that the lot was accompanied by two essays on the symbols sketched by their creator, Scott Fahlman, as well as a certificate of authenticity signed and framed. Scott Fahlman, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (Northeast), invented the two logos in September 1982, proposing a sequence of a colon, dash and closed parenthesis, which was intended to let the reader know that it was a joke. The other sequence (colon, dash and open parenthesis), on the other hand, corresponded to I am serious. Thereafter, these symbols would quickly express the joy and melancholy of those who typed them. The initial bid was for $1,000. By Friday night, a bid of $2,100 had already been made. The NFTs each have a digital certificate of authenticity.
This digital asset is declared original and is protected from infringement because of its storage on a blockchain. Examples of NFTs that have already been sold include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's first tweet and the source code of the World Wide Web. Both the tweet and the source code continue to circulate, but their original now belongs to one person.