Sotheby’s and eBay are partnering up to bring a taste of high-end, big ticket auctions to the auction website that built its reputation on the vast array of Star Wars lunchboxes it initially made available to its user base.
Beginning in the fall of 2014, most of the blue-chip auction houses auctions will be broadcasted live on eBay’s website. The auction house looks to expand the partnership if this trial run is successful, adding online-only sales and streamed auctions from around the world and giving eBay customers access to everything from art to fine wine.
The partnership comes as rival auction house, Christie’s is moving toward a $50 million expansion in their own online capacity. The two firms have run in a virtual tie for years, but lately Christie’s has started to pull ahead as Sotheby’s is criticized for being behind the times.
Activist shareholder Daniel S. Loeb compared the company to “an old painting in desperate need of restoration,” reports The New York Times.
This is not eBay and Sotheby’s first collaboration; in 2002 a similar team up was attempted but quickly fizzled. Both companies now believe market conditions have changed enough to make this pairing a winner.