Sotheby's and eBay join to offer online auctions

Sothebys auction Online bidders competed for 17% of the total lots offered in 2013, said Sothebys

Related Stories

International art auction house Sotheby's and online marketplace eBay will create a web platform to allow viewers to bid on and buy art.

Sotheby's chief operating officer Bruno Vinciguerra said Sotheby's hoped to reach "the broadest possible audience around the world" with the move.

Sotheby's said the number of lots purchased online increased 36% in 2013.

Online art sales are expected to reach $13bn (£7.6bn) by 2020.

In April, John James Audubon's elephant-folio The Birds of America sold for $3.5m online via a live auction at Sotheby's - a record for the firm.

Jewellery, watches

The venture will start with live auctions streamed from Sotheby's New York headquarters, which will allow "real-time bidding from anywhere around the world".

Sotheby's will offer 18 categories to start, focusing jewellery, watches, prints, wine, photographs and 20th century design - categories the firm says have been particularly appealing to online buyers.

The move comes just ahead of eBay's earnings, which are set to be released on Wednesday, and as more and more start-ups, such as Artsy, Artspace and Paddle8 allow consumers to buy art on the web.

Last year, Amazon announced it would sell works by artists such as Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol on its website.

The two companies declined to give a firm start date for the service.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Business stories

RSS

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • A prosthetic legClick Watch

    How motion capture technology is being used to design bespoke prosthetics

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.