NEW YORK, July 14 Sotheby's and eBay
announced a partnership on Monday to make it easier to
buy antiques, collectibles and works of fine art online.
The international auction house and the online marketplace
plan to broadcast live auctions from the New York headquarters
of Sotheby's that will include real-time bidding from anywhere
in the world.
Auctions from other locations could follow.
The deal will connect Sotheby's, with its extensive
inventory of fine art, antiques, books, jewels, watches and
furniture, with eBay's 145 million active buyers around the
"We are joining with eBay to make our sales more accessible
to the broadest possible audience around the world," Bruno
Vinciguerra, Sotheby's chief operating officer, said in a
The timing of the venture comes as the value of individual
sales has escalated to record highs. Francis Bacon's triptych
painting "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" sold for $142.4 million
last November in New York, the highest price ever for an item
sold at auction.
Total sales in the global art and antiques market rose 8
percent to $65.9 billion last year, the highest level since
2007, with Asian buyers playing an increasingly important role,
according to the European Fine Art Foundation's annual report.
Online sales could grow at a rate of at least 25 percent per
year after accounting for around 5 percent of sales in 2013, the
Sotheby's said online bidders competed for 17 percent of the
total lots it offered in 2013 while the number of lots purchased
online jumped 36 percent compared to 2012.
John James Audubon's book "The Birds of America," which
fetched $3.5 million, set the record for an online purchase in a
live auction at Sotheby's in April.
For eBay, the deal with Sotheby's is a chance to expand into
the live auction market.
"When we combine its inventory with eBay's technology
platform and global reach, we can give people access to the
world's finest, most inspiring items - anytime, anywhere and
from any device," said Devin Wenig, the president of eBay
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)