eBay kicked off its new live-streaming partnership with Sotheby’s on Wednesday evening, offering its millions of users the chance to throw down bids on everything from iconic prints to an old Yankee Stadium sign.
A total of 91 lots sold in about 90 minutes during the New York City sale, with most items going for between $5,000 and $10,000.
The e-commerce giant’s slick website designed especially for online bidders made it easy – perhaps a little too easy for some – to send a virtual nod the way of the auctioneer.
While most bids came from the floor, bids from eBay participants also rolled in. Perhaps fittingly for the Web company’s debut online auction at Sotheby’s, the final lot, a print by the late American photographer Berenice Abbot titled ‘New York at Night’ went to an eBay bidder, who coughed up $6,000 for the item.
Of course, you don’t have to bid during eBay’s live auction events. Instead, you can just drop by and enjoy the action from the sidelines. Besides the live video feed, eBay’s site also shows the item under the hammer and its estimated selling price, the latest bid and where it’s from (ie. ‘floor’ or ‘eBay’), how many bids have been placed, and the elapsed time for each bidding session.
A note beside the ‘bid’ button provides a gentle reminder that your bank account will reduce in size if you do happen to finish top during any given sale. “By bidding, you agree to buy this item if you win,” it reads.
One of the biggest sales of the night was expected to be for an old Yankee Stadium sign, which had an estimated price of between $300,000 and $600,000. The sign’s owner, Yankee legend Reggie Jackson, made a personal appearance just before the lot went under the hammer, and promised to meet the winning bidder in person. There were, however, no takers. With no one on the floor nodding at the auctioneer, and a deathly silence filling the room, it was the perfect opportunity for an inebriated eBay user to step up to the plate and give us all a good laugh. But it never happened.
eBay has been offering live auctions with a number of smaller auction houses since last year, but Sotheby’s is easily the biggest name it’s partnered with to date. The online firm makes money by taking a cut of any sales made via its site.
If you’ve got a few bucks in the bank and want to take your eBay bidding to a whole new level, you can find out about all of Sotheby’s upcoming online auctions here.