Sotheby's joins forces with eBay to offer live online bidding

A new page is set to be introduced on the eBay website that will allow users to bid on Sotheby’s listings such as artwork, antiques, jewellery, and all kinds of collectables, wherever they are. The live streaming auctions will initially come from the Sotheby’s headquarters in New York.

Sotheby’s has discontinued its own online live auction service so the company can benefit from improved the technology and know-how of eBay. Bruno Vinciguerra (Sotheby’s COO) had this to say:

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

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The plan is for other sellers to eventually have access to live auctions as well on eBay, but the service is mostly going to be based around the partnership between the online giant and Sotheby’s.

This move by Sotheby’s appears to be an attempt to reach a new audience. This prestigious auctioneer has already a good relationship with high-end customers, and going on eBay is unlikely to attract many more from this group. The tactic seems to be attract new buyers who would be classified as being in the middle of the market.

Sotheby’s has been in business since 1744, but the auction house appreciates the power of the internet. Last year 17 per cent of its sales were generated online, one piece alone (The Birds of America) sold for well over £2 million this way.

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Sotheby’s and eBay might seem like strange bedfellows, but this is not the first time the two have joined forces. Back in 2002, eBay attempted to host auctions using the Sotheby’s name, but this didn’t prove successful and the project was abandoned after just one year. The technology has changed a great deal over the last decade, so the hope is that now is the perfect time for such a relationship to work.