EBay's live art auction service debuts, first auction to be held Thursday

Associated Press

Ready, set, bid.

EBay's art auction service is going live on Monday, allowing eBay users to bid on fine art and collectibles online during physical auctions at 150 auction houses in North America.

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Auctions at most of the auction houses eBay is working with, including Doyle New York, Freeman's, Garth's Auction and Swann Auction Galleries, take bids by phone and online already, but typically the online bidding process has been via the house's own website. Working with eBay gives the online bidders an easier, glitch-free experience, the company says.

"We're opening up the world of traditional auction houses," said Gene Cook, general manager of emerging verticals for eBay Marketplaces.

Items for sale during the auctions are listed in advance on the site: ebay.com/collectibles-liveauctions, as well as embedded in eBay's searchable database.

The site showcasing the auctions goes live Monday and the first auction is scheduled for Thursday. It is an auction for African-American fine art at Swann Auction Galleries in New York.

The current auction site is separate from the deal eBay signed in July with auction house Sotheby's. Auctions with Sotheby's are expected to begin later this year.

EBay Inc. shares rose 3 cents to $54.47 in morning trading Monday. Its shares are little changed so far this year through last Friday's close.