Christie's Sets In-House Online Purchase Record

During this past weeks Asian sales (still waiting for consolidated figures, but the sales look to have been strong and totaled near $70 million at Christie's), Christie's noted that it achieved a new in-house record for an online purchase.  The online purchased totaled $3.3 million breaking the previous online total for Chrisite's of $1.27 set in April, 2008.  The online purchase (see image)  was for a bronze wine vessel and cover, Fangyi late Shang Dynasty, Anyang, 12th-11th Century.

As Christie's notes, collectors are becoming more and more comfortable with bidding online. I would agree, and expect in house records to continue to fall in the future.  Some of the Christie's figures are interesting regarding online bidding, and do show how online bidding is trending.  In 2009 Christie's sold $68.4 million to online bidders, with 30% of all bids coming through online with 14% of winning bids coming through online channels.

Christies states

In total, 22% of the lots sold in Thursday’s sale, which totaled over $20 million, were sold to or directly underbid by clients using the Christie's LIVE™ application. Since 2007, every category of fine art, antiques and collectibles sold in Christie's salerooms worldwide have been enabled for online bidding. The most popular collecting categories for online bidding at Christie’s include Watches, Fine and Rare Wines, and Interiors. Prior to today’s sale, three lots have sold online for over the US$1 million mark, including jewelry and Chinese works of art.

Michael O’Neal, Senior Vice President and Director of Digital Media at Christie’s, commented: “Today’s new house record is a sign that Christie’s clients are as comfortable bidding online as they are with bidding in person in our salerooms, on the phone, or by absentee ballot. We recognize that our clients are increasingly mobile and rely on the Internet and mobile devices to conduct business with us. We are pleased that Christie’s LIVE™ has become such a core component of our auction business since its launch in 2007, and we look forward to rolling out more mobile applications and online enhancements to our clients later this fall.”

Christie’s remains the only international auction house to offer real-time, online bidding in all of its sale categories worldwide. In 2009, $68.4 million (£43.5 million) was bid online including premium and Christie’s LIVE™ generated 49,343 accepted bids for the year. 30% of all bids and 14% of all winning bids came in through online channels and the number of winning bidders participating online increased by 40% over 2008. 

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