eBay and Sotheby’s Join Forces on New Live Auction Experiences

eBay Inc. Staff

Many today believe fine art is only for the elite, or that original works come with a million-dollar price tag. eBay and Sotheby’s are looking to change that perception by collaborating to deliver a new live-auction experience on eBay.com that will offer mid-priced inventory from the Sotheby’s portfolio. (A press release is now available.)

The new live-auction experience will be different from traditional auctions on eBay. It will have enhanced functionality and include stories behind the art, antiques and collectibles. And video will allow shoppers to follow and participate in Sotheby’s New York live auctions in real time.

“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 Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s chief operating officer. “We are joining with eBay to make our sales more accessible to the broadest possible audience around the world.”

By coming together, eBay and Sotheby’s, leaders in their respective industries, are creating new opportunities for a generation of shoppers that is increasingly interested in art and comfortable spending larger sums online, or even through their mobile phones.

eBay has already seen evidence of this comfort in online shopping with 3,500 auctions closing each day at a price of more than $5,000. eBay believes its shoppers have the financial means and appetite to purchase things like art, jewelry and watches online from a trusted source like Sotheby’s. And Sotheby’s inventory fits eBay shoppers’ budgets with more than half its lots sold in 2013 within the $5,000-$100,000 range.

Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, said, “A Sotheby’s-eBay partnership is a significant milestone in our efforts to expand the live auction market. Sotheby’s is one of the most respected names in the world. When you 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. That is an experience we believe our customers will love.”

With the partnership just recently formalized, the companies anticipate the new destination to launch this fall, so check back to eBay.com soon for more news when the site is live.