Live Auctions On eBay Will Begin This Week

Image courtesy of (cambelina)

Ready to raise a virtual paddle at a high-end auction from your computer or smartphone? Earlier this year, eBay announced that it will revive live auctions and team up with fancy real-life auction house Sotheby’s to bring high-end auctions to new audiences. If it works, that could give eBay new income to help the company through its breakup with PayPal.

“Hang on,” you might be saying. “Aren’t all auctions on eBay live?” Well, sure, even a week-long auction is live, but that isn’t what they mean. What eBay users will be able to do, starting on Wednesday during a Swann Gallery auction of African-American fine art, is bid through the site and have a representative of eBay raise a real-life auction paddle on their behalf. Bidders do have to sign up in advance before the event begins.

Of course, you’ll need to have the money to actually pay for these items. In Thursday’s auction, the least expensive pieces are expected to sell for about $1,000, and start at $750. Experts believe that the priciest piece will sell for about $180,000.

There’s one other difference between the typical eBay auction for a rare smartphone prototype and auctions for high-end art and collectibles: these auctions require the buyer to cover auction fees, called a “buyer’s premium.” Usually in online auctions, the seller pays these fees.

eBay Tries Its Lot With Live Auctions, Again [Wall Street Journal]
About Live Auctions [eBay]