Sotheby’s, meet eBay. eBay, meet Sotheby’s. You two have a lot in common.
So much, in fact, that the two brands are hooking up for a joint initiative this year that will see Sotheby’s live-auctions streamed through eBay for anyone to participate.
Sotheby’s will offer a “mid-priced inventory,” so you won’t likely be seeing any Picassos on here, but it will feature “enhanced functionality” that draws on the stories behind the items on sale.
While the auctions will still take place in New York, anyone will be able to follow the action on video through eBay. “The growth of the art market, new generation technology and our shared strengths make this the right time for this exciting new online opportunity,” explains 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.”
Founded way back in 1744, Sotheby’s is synonymous with quality and fine, decorative art. eBay, on the other hand, is more akin with getting rid of that old Nokia that’s been sitting at the back of your wardrobe. But that clearly isn’t stopping the two teaming up to revive an idea that first came to fruition back in 2002, though that attempt swiftly petered out, presumably due to the technological times. Things have progressed significantly since then, with super-fast broadband, mobile internet and the near-ubiquity of connectivity meaning that things may prove more fruitful this time around.
Just last year, Amazon opened up a new dedicated portal for art, connecting dealers with buyers from around the world. Now eBay is looking beyond its mass-consumer roots into a more niche space dedicated to more prestigious goods.
The new offering is expected to launch this coming autumn, though there’s no specifics yet as to how the bidding process will actually work through eBay. We suspect that PayPal won’t be an acceptable form of payment either.