In a move designed to bring its auctions to a wider audience, Sotheby’s has teamed up with eBay to launch a new site allowing users to livestream sales and even make bids.
Launched on Tuesday, the dedicated section on eBay’s main site shows schedules for upcoming auctions at Sotheby’s New York City location as well as detailed information on items going under the hammer. eBay, which takes of a cut of sales made through its site, has been offering live auctions with a number of smaller auction houses since last year, but this is by far the biggest name it’s partnered with.
Although the world’s big auction houses have been offering online bidding for some time, the tie-up with eBay will bring Sotheby’s business to a vast new audience. The two companies have designed the site in a way that’s meant to be welcoming and accessible to those new to the world of high-end auctions, with plenty of useful information – including tips from art and antique experts – laid out for first timers on a clear, easy-to-navigate website.
Visitors to ebay.com/sothebys will be able to watch the auctions unfold live online, and even bid with a simple click of the mouse if they have enough cash in the bank.
With somewhere in the region of 40 lots offered per hour during any given auction event, sales can come and go in a flash. Indeed, at that kind of speed, it’s suggested you do some serious research before you sit in front of the computer, especially if you’re the impulsive type. Knowing your bidding limit before you start should also ensure you’re not left having to auction off all your own worldly goods in order to pay for your over exuberance.
According to Reuters, the majority of Sotheby’s New York sales will be livestreamed on the eBay site, “except for high-priced evening sales of contemporary, modern and Impressionist art and other specialist categories.”
The first Sotheby’s auction to livestream on eBay takes place on April 1 (this isn’t an elaborate April Fools’ joke, by the way) and includes prints by pioneering photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams, among others. While many of the online sales are set to involve items valued at between $1,000 and $50,000 dollars, the more valuable works of art available in the first auction next month could fetch as much as $100,000. However, if there are any moneyed (and highly enthusiastic) eBay users taking part, it’s possible they could fetch much more.