eBay’s Sotheby’s Live Auction is finally here

Works from the Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Sotheby’s held on May 2, 2012. (Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Today Sotheby’s and eBay launch their new live online auction site, ebay.com/sothebys. The site, hosted by eBay, will allow collectors to bid on New York auctions from anywhere in the world as they happen, access live audio and video streaming of sales and view items for sale. Plans for the collaborative auction site were announced last July, and the first live auctions on eBay will be the New York Sale and the Photography Sale on April 1.

This is what the new eBay and Sotheby's site will look like.
This is what the new eBay and Sotheby’s site will look like.

This isn’t the first time Sotheby’s and eBay have teamed up on online projects. In 2003, Sotheby’s has closed sothebys.ebay.com, a site with separate online auctions, because it was not generating enough profit. This time around, the auction giant is hoping tech has caught up with the market, and it could be – eBay has 155 million active buyers. How many of them will be interested in larger art objects? That remains to be seen.

Dr Clare McAndrew’s 2015 TEFAF Art Market Report, presented last week in Maastricht, said online sales are gaining momentum and accounted for €3.3 billion and 6% of sales totals in 2014. At Sotheby’s, the very popular collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon: Sale of interiors, 30% of buyers were online, according to the house. The sale of John James Audubon The birds of America elephant-folio for $3.5 million online set a new online sales record for Sotheby’s.

“Granting this kind of unprecedented access to art and collectibles, using an innovative technology platform, has enabled more people to enjoy and participate in auctions. on exceptional works of art, antiques and collectibles.These items were previously only available to auction house bidders,” said Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, in a statement.

In his own statement, Sotheby’s COO Bruno Vinciguerra said: “The new rich and intelligent design and auction technology, combined with exclusive features such as preservation of likes, videos and engaging items, and Sotheby’s expert knowledge of user-friendly, intuitive technology will provide collectors with a unique and welcoming experience.

The New York sale will include a wide variety of items such as city-themed prints, photographs, paintings, jewelry and memorabilia. One highlight is the old Yankee Stadium sign from the collection of former Yankee player Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson. Works in the photography sale will range from 19th century modernism to post- war, with images of Paul Strand, Lee Friedlander and Man Ray, among others.

eBay's Sotheby's Live Auction is finally here

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