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Sotheby's, eBay Partner for Online Auction Marketplace

Jul 14, 2014 8:52 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Sotheby’s will offer live auctions from New York online through  eBay's technology, accessing 145 million active buyers, in a new  partnership that was announced before the stock market opened today.  The deal unites eBay's online shopping expertise with Sotheby's auction business and together the two are developing an innovative online platform that will make it easier for global bidders to acquire art, antiques and collectibles, according to a joint statement. 

The first offerings will tap into a newly-designed auction experience that eBay will launch on its website, tailored for collectors of rare, unique and premium art and collectibles as well as for first-time buyers. Sotheby’s will become the preeminent anchor tenant in the new design. Both companies intend to focus on growing the market at price points where they expect their collectors to converge in the future – particularly in the segments such as jewelry, watches, prints, wine, photographs and 20th century design. The global art market is currently estimated around $65 billion, with annual online sales far below averages for other luxury goods.

According to eBay's plans, it will revamp the marketplace to include a new live auction feature and real-time bidding from anywhere around the world. The Sotheby’s auctions will present 18 collecting categories and conduct themed and time-based sales, as well as live auctions from Sotheby’s other global salesrooms, but evening sales will not be included out of the New York office.

"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."

Devin Wenig, the 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."

Projections show online art sales could reach $13 billion by 2020, according to Sotheby's calculations.

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Tags: artwork, auction, bidding, diamonds, ebay, ecommerce, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, online retailing, Sotheby's
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