How this NFT collection of anthropomorphic deer netted its Welsh creator $600,000 in just hours

The collection of more than 7,000 NFTs sold out in hours.

Sierren Soulgazer was digitally hand drawn with fine line details. Photo: Courtesy Ashley Crossland.

A collection of anthropomorphic deer NFTs has netted its creator nearly $600,000 within hours of its minting.

In March, Welsh artist Ashley Crossland dropped 7,200 of his Stag Alliance NFTs, a series he had spent thousands of hours creating outside of his design agency day job. Each deer has a name and is built out of more than 400 traits from epic fantasy to steampunk to, well, just plain silly – Bluedew of Domence appears dressed as a Victorian gentleman with glowing antlers and Lilac Larry as a surfer guy at a retreat in forest.

“I chose deer because of its strong, positive connotations in many cultures around the world,” Crossland told Artnet News. “The features reflect cultures from many parts of history and culture. The juxtapositions represent the wild and unpredictable nature of the NFT space.”

Within a few hours, the NFTs, which are Cardano-based and cost around $85 to produce, had sold out, with secondary sales now pushing the floor price to around $140.

King Cunning is one of more than 7,000 humanoid deer. Photo: Courtesy Ashley Crossland.

Crossland fell in love with the NFT space during the pandemic and started collecting in 2020. His deer sketches were received positively online, but he wanted to build the world rather than just make coins, so he collaborated with Jimmi Sandham, a friend from university , who have created an entire mythical universe, Elderworld. “Loren gives all the characters meaning and this enhances their collectability,” Crossland said.

In short, Elderworld imagines a herd of deer placed on Earth in 2519 BCE by a mad sorceress. In her quest to take land from humans, the deer are blessed with supreme magic, wisdom, and artifacts from all ages. War breaks out between the Stag Alliance and humans who see the devil at work in their horned adversaries.

Crossland and his team are developing a fully gamified experience for collectors, including on mobile. Photo: Courtesy Ashley Crossland.

It is the thoroughness of the project’s history building that seems to have piqued the interest of collectors. The hope is to reach beyond the silo of NFT collectors and connect with fantasy fans, in part by publishing stories on Amazon and Apple, including audio versions for readers.

Despite the project’s early success, the Stag Alliance is wary of some of the benefits of other large collectibles, such as creating linked tokens, offering incentives for collectors to hold NFTs, and artificially inflating the value of an NFT collection, a tactic called floor sweeping.

“We want people to hold and use our NFTs,” the Stag Alliance wrote on a website explaining its market ethos. “We focus on real demand, not superficial and unsustainable or illogical value.”

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