Why not buy that Rembrandt online?
E-commerce firm EBay Inc. and Sotheby’s auction house are betting you will.
The companies announced a partnership Monday creating online access to live auctions at Sotheby’s New York headquarters.
Art aficionados and others will be able to browse EBay’s website to purchase original artwork, antiques, jewelry, fine wine and more. The online platform, which the firms are jointly developing, will be “tailored for collectors of rare, unique and premium art and collectibles,” the companies said in a news release.
Collectors in recent years have shown increased enthusiasm for online and mobile purchases. Online art sales are projected to hit $13 billion by 2020, the companies said. About 17% of the objects Sotheby's offered for auction last year had online bidders, the company said.
“We believe there is a great opportunity, through this partnership, to truly make art more accessible to exponentially more collectors,” Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
The announcement comes two months after activist hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb won three seats on Sotheby's board, including one for himself. Loeb had said the previous board of directors was in "dire need of fresh insights" and had called for more investment in online sales.
In the future, EBay and Sotheby’s said they will “explore” live auctions from other salesrooms worldwide. The online marketplace, featuring sales from New York, is expected to launch later this year or early next year.
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