Art and memorabilia collectors who appreciate the internet have a good reason to rejoice because Sotheby's and eBay have teamed up and will start streaming auctions from New York. On April 1st, you'll be able to make your bids at ebay.com/sothebys. On that day, the theme will be "New York" and bidders will compete for items like the letters that made the "Yankees Stadium" sign at the former ball park.
Later on, other locations will begin to stream their auctions. Even later, Sotheby's will stream online-only auctions, which bidders won't be able to attend in person. Really expensive items will still be auctioned off the old-fashioned way.
Before bidding begins, online buyers will be able to view an online version of the auction catalog, which includes photographs, commentary and multimedia. The items up for sale will be viewed as if they are in a museum, for a bit of hype.
Sotheby's and other auction companies have offered online auctions for a while, but haven't joined forces with a mass market online auction platform such as eBay. The aim of doing so is to boost sales by reaching a wider audience of potential bidders, who should be happy to conduct business with a reputable auction house.
It's no surprise that Sotheby's identified the opportunity. Such users were already becoming more comfortable buying high-priced antiques online before the deal was announced, according to Fortune. Online sales of art and antiques reached $3.5 billion last year and Sotheby's noted a 25% increase in online bidding in 2014 compared to the previous year. Online bidding is becoming the norm for art traders as well-known names in the industry have been arguing for progressive online strategies for some time.