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 Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8048
JPY
USD
118.04
GBP
USD
0.6382
CAD
USD
1.1270
INR
USD
61.892

Rates may not be current.