Now it's the auctioneer with his gavel who has become the latest victim of computer technology. But last night, at least, the auctioneer was spared when CARE held its annual fund raising auction as the preview to the opening of Artnet, which bills itself as the "first electronic auction." Nearly 300 CARE supporters came to the Capital Centre and paid $35 each for the right to bid on donations ranging from a box of Cuban cigars (donated by the Cuban legation) to a goose shoot (donated by anonymous).
Artnet International Antique and Art Exposition opens today and runs through Sunday at the Capital Centre Michael Behar, Artnet president, thinks he has come up with a new way to bring together buyer and seller for an auction.
Behar says he will have an audience of 3 to 5 million tonight as Artnet stages its first electronic auction with use of a computer satellite and cable TV.
As Behar explains it, a buyer sitting in his Arlington living room will be able to bid against another prospective buyer in San Francisco and someone on the scene at Capital Centre.
"He calls first on an 800 telephone number and is given an identification number after his credit rating is checked," Behar said.
And who says "going, going, gone?" "The computer," Behar answered.
The computer says it by flashing on the screen the identification number of the successful bidder.More than 150 dealers offering everything from classic cars and antiques to Chinese jade and Japanese lacquer, have set up booths on the floor of the Capital Centre and the passageways.
At the CARE benefit preview last night, Cloris Leachman, Arthur Godfrey and Chris Hanburger helped cut the ribbon.
Funds raised from last night's auction will be used for programs of CARE and MEDICO, CARE'S medical arm, in 35 countries and to aid victims of Hurricane David in the Dominican Republic.