The Washington Post

Report: eBay and Sotheby’s to team up for streaming auctions

TOP: ebay sign. (courtesy of ebay) BOTTOM: A security guard stands next to a Sotheby's logo during a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong on April 4, 2012. A rare Chinese porcelain bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty sold for 26.7 million USD, a record auction price for Song ceramics. AFP PHOTO / AARON TAM (Photo credit should read aaron tam/AFP/Getty Images) eBay & Sotheby’s (eBay) (Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images)

One auction house is older than Lewis and Clark’s trek across America.

Another is about as old as “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Now, Sotheby’s and eBay will be teaming up on a browser near you.

“Even if we only reach point 1 percent of eBay users, that’s huge for us,” Bruno Vinciguerra, Sotheby’s chief operating officer, told the New York Times. “The point is to make our sales more accessible to the broadest possible audience around the world, all the while remaining totally committed to our high end.”

The idea that those eager to own vintage Pez dispensers will also bid on Andy Warhol isn’t new — Sotheby’s and eBay tried teaming up in the early aughts, with little success.

According to the Times, eBay will stream “most of” Sotheby’s auctions starting in the fall:

Eventually the auction house expects to extend the partnership, adding online-only sales and streamed auctions taking place anywhere from Hong Kong to Paris to London. The pairing would upend the rarefied world of art and antiques, giving eBay’s 145 million customers instant bidding access to a vast array of what Sotheby’s sells, from fine wines to watercolors by Cézanne.

No doubt this will be entertaining to some eBay voyeurs of the rich and famous. Whether the rich and famous who patronize Sotheby’s will fancy mingling with the masses is another question entirely.

Justin Wm. Moyer is a reporter for The Washington Post's Morning Mix. Follow him on Twitter: @justinwmmoyer.

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