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Auction house Sotheby's, eBay unveil tie-up on art auctions

NEW YORK--Highbrow art house Sotheby's is opening a door to the masses in an alliance with Internet age online marketplace eBay.

The companies touted the tie-up as uniting eBay's global clout with the “iconic international art” expertise of Sotheby's famed auction house.

The eBay website will soon launch a revamped market for art and collectibles, featuring live auctions with real-time bidding from around the world. Sotheby's was billed as the virtual venue's “anchor tenant.”

The collaboration will begin with a series of live auctions from Sotheby's headquarters in New York City.

The companies will also “explore themed and time-based sales, as well as live auctions from Sotheby's other global salesrooms.”

“The growth of the art market, new generation technology and our shared strengths make this the right time for this exciting new online opportunity,” said Sotheby's chief operating officer Bruno Vinciguerra.

“We are joining with eBay to make our sales more accessible to the broadest possible audience around the world.”

Sotheby's says online bidders accounted for about 17 percent of the lots offered in 2013.

The number of lots purchased online at Sotheby's last year jumped 36 percent from that seen in 2012, with an accompanying surge in bidders using smartphones or tablets to access the auction house online.

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A woman browses various impressionistic paintings during a preview exhibition for Sotheby's Spring Evening Sale of impressionistic and modern art, in New York, May 2. eBay Inc. has partnered with Sotheby's to offer a new live auction feature on eBay's Web site and real-time bidding for auctions that are taking place at Sotheby's headquarters in New York.

(AP

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