January 26, 1999
Sotheby's to Start On-Line Auctions
International auction house Sotheby's announced last week it will start taking bids for antiques, art, jewelry and collectibles on its Web site at www.sothebys.com.
Sotheby's plans to spend $25 million developing the on-line auction site. At first the auction house will only include items priced below $10,000 because technology doesn't allow accurate pictures of lots. "There's no point in having a fuzzy image of a $100,000 item," Susan Solomon, the new CEO of sothebys.com, told The New York Times. Someday, however, the site may expand to include the auction house's rarer and more expensive lots.
Solomon said the move to on-line auctions is a "natural evolution" for the business, and promised Sotheby's will maintain quality control so it won't alienate clientele. The new site will compete with other popular on-line auction sites, where there's nobody to vouch for items' authenticity. The current Sotheby's site contains calendars, auction results and catalog texts.
- by Stacey King