News / Economy

    Sotheby's Enlists eBay to Expand Live Auction Bidding

    FILE - A Sotheby's employee poses with a Chelsea scolopendrium-molded teapot (dated c.1750), believed to be the only surviving example of this pattern, at Sotheby's auction house in London, May 9, 2014.
    FILE - A Sotheby's employee poses with a Chelsea scolopendrium-molded teapot (dated c.1750), believed to be the only surviving example of this pattern, at Sotheby's auction house in London, May 9, 2014.
    Reuters

    Two of the biggest names in auction sales, the traditional Sotheby's and the digital pioneer eBay, said on Monday they are joining forces to make it easier to buy antiques, collectibles and works of fine art online.

    The two plan to stream selected auctions with live bidding in real time late this year or early in 2015 from Sotheby's New York headquarters.

    The deal will connect the 270-year-old Sotheby's, with its extensive inventory of fine art, antiques, books, jewels, watches and furniture, with eBay's 145 million active buyers around the world.

    “We are joining with eBay to make our sales more accessible to the broadest possible audience around the world,” Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

    Traditional evening auctions, where contemporary or Impressionist works of art can sell for $50 million and more, will not be included on eBay. Auctions from other locations such as London, Hong Kong, Paris or Geneva could follow in the future.

    Auction houses, including Sotheby's and rival Christie's, have conducted online sales for years. But the deal gives Sotheby's the advantage of eBay's digital technology and online marketing skills, and potentially more bidders and higher prices and sales.

    “Combining our expertise, our ability to source material and authenticate it, and the quality of what Sotheby's offers with eBay's technology platform and reach it makes for a very compelling combination,” Andrew Gully, worldwide director of communications at Sotheby's, told Reuters.

    “The audience is so large I don't think at this point we can predict specifically what impact it will have. But with more bidders it is logical to assume prices can go higher in an auction,” he added.

    Auctions of jewelry, watches, prints, wine, photographs and some fine art are expected to be streamed online with prices in the range of $5,000 to $100,000.

    Themed auctions, such as Sotheby's recent roll n' rock memorabilia sale, may also be streamed online.

    The venture comes as the prices of individual works of art at auction have escalated to record highs. Francis Bacon's triptych painting “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold for $142.4 million last November in New York, the highest price ever for an item sold at auction.

    Total sales in the global art and antiques market rose 8 percent to $65.9 billion last year, the highest level since 2007, with Asian buyers playing an increasingly important role,  according to the European Fine Art Foundation's annual report.

    Online sales could grow at a rate of at least 25 percent per year after accounting for around 5 percent of sales in 2013, the foundation said.

    Sotheby's said online bidders competed for 17 percent of the total lots it offered in 2013 while the number of lots purchased online jumped 36 percent compared to 2012.

    John James Audubon's book “The Birds of America,” which fetched $3.5 million, set the record for an online purchase in a live auction at Sotheby's in April.

    For eBay, the deal with Sotheby's is a chance to expand into the live auction market.

    “When we combine its inventory with eBay's technology platform and global reach, we can give people access to the world's finest, most inspiring items - anytime, anywhere and from any device,” said Devin Wenig, the president of eBay Marketplaces.

    Shares of Sotheby's closed up 1 percent, or 40 cents, at $40.09 on Monday. Shares of eBay finished down 0.7 percent, or 34 cents, at $51.16.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8916
    JPY
    USD
    109.40
    GBP
    USD
    0.6905
    CAD
    USD
    1.3147
    INR
    USD
    67.522

    Rates may not be current.