On July 14, 2014 The New York Times published an article entitled, "A Warhol With Your Moosehead? Sotheby's Teams with eBay" by Carol Vogel and Mike Isaac, from which I quote:
"Convinced that consumers are finally ready to shop online for Picassos and choice Persian rugs in addition to car parts and Pez dispensers, Sotheby’s, the blue-chip auction house, and eBay, the Internet shopping giant, plan to announce Monday that they have formed a partnership to stream Sotheby’s sales worldwide.
"Starting this fall, most of Sotheby’s New York auctions will be broadcast live on a new section of eBay’s website. 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.
"This isn’t the first time the two companies have teamed up; a 2002 collaboration fizzled after only a year. But officials say the market has matured in recent years, making the moment right for a new collaboration.
"The announcement comes just months after the activist shareholder Daniel S. Loeb criticized Sotheby’s for its antiquated business practices, likening the company to “an old painting in desperate need of restoration” and calling for directors there to beef up its online sales strategy. It also signals a new phase in Sotheby’s age-old rivalry with Christie’s. After years of running neck and neck, Sotheby’s has recently been losing business to its main competitor — and Christie’s is planning its own bold move to capture more online business, a $50 million investment that will include more Internet-only auctions and a redesigning of its website scheduled for October.
"Online auctions are not new to either auction house. Registered bidders can compete in certain sales in real time with the click of a mouse. What is new is the way Sotheby’s is trying to reach beyond its traditional customers to an enormous affluent global audience for whom online buying has become second nature. Luxury shopping websites like Gilt and 1st Dibs, with their broad mix of décor, designer fashion and antiques, have shown that shoppers are willing to spend many thousands of dollars on everything from handbags to sconces without inspecting them in person. And while the auction houses are seeing their online bidding grow — Sotheby’s, for example, says its sales on its website increased 36 percent in 2013 over the previous year — they believe the full potential of online sales has yet to be tapped."