If you’re an avid collector who follows the fast-paced movements of the world of luxury auctions, consider placing your bids online (if you haven’t already given it a go). Participating in an online auction on any reputable auction house’s website – be it Bonhams, Phillips, Christie’s, or Sotheby’s – is a far cry from tinkering on eBay.
The lots on offer are undoubtedly high-value ones, and the stakes are just as high: last year, Sotheby’s sold a pair of important fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond earrings for US$5.8 million in Geneva, breaking the record for the highest priced lot ever sold online. Earlier this year in April, the sale of the world’s largest known collection of rare and collectable Karuizawa whiskies marked a significant step for online auctions when it was sold by Whisky Auctioneer for £770,000 (US$10 million) – a world record for Japanese whisky.
In the art world, online art sales reached an estimated US$3.75 billion in 2016 – a 15% increase from 2015 – despite a slowing global art market, according to the Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2017.
When you consider that all you need is a computer (some auction houses have also developed apps that allow you to bid using your mobile device) and a strong Internet connection, the sheer convenience of being able to keep track of live auctions from wherever you’re based in the world is a huge plus-point.
Should you be game to try, WEALTH has spoken with two auctions specialists and come up with five tips to help you successfully assess and secure your first online purchase: