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icollector.com, eBay Offer Real-Time Bidding to 300 Auction Houses

[London, ENGLAND] Art trade portal icollector.com announced Monday it has teamed with eBay's fine arts division eBay Premier to offer real-time auctions to 300 auction houses worldwide.

The new scheme will use eBay's Live Auctions technology, first introduced in September 2000, making it available to icollector's network of auction houses. The result, say the partners, will allow people to take part in traditional live auctions anywhere in the world.

For the auction houses themselves, the sudden appearance of a huge audience of potential bidders beyond the auction room will be very welcome. Even in a depressed market it may just help to push prices up.

Geoff Iddison, general manager of eBay Premier, said the deal would enable eBay Premier to expand its Live Auction capability to become the defacto standard for live real-time bidding.

eBay says its roll-out of Live Auctions technology has been very successful, with up to twenty percent of lots being sold to Internet bidders by the auctioneers that have used it. However, only thirty percent of the lots offered actually received Internet bids, suggesting that people bidding online are reasonably determined to acquire what they want.

Live Auctions technology ensures real-time transmission of bids to and from the auction house, while also offering an online audio streaming capability on selected auctions.

To use the service, bidders need to be registered eBay users, sign up for the event online, and stick to the rules. Auction houses often have strict user verification requirements that have to be met before anyone can go ahead and bid for that much-coveted Rembrandt self portrait.

Founded in 1994, icollector.com serves as an independent connection to auction houses worldwide. It also represents 650 dealers and galleries.

Never before have collectors found it easier to locate and bid for items to expand their art and antique collections. At icollector.com there is a huge archive of information, including an index of prices, to support the bidder.

The introduction of worldwide real-time bidding will help the bidder as well as the art trade establishment. Surely it will be easier to keep a cool head while sitting at a screen than in being caught up in the excitment of the saleroom? Or maybe not.