A distinguished French auction house claims it is the first to sell items to real-time online bidders.
As the sale was taking place at the Drouot auction rooms earlier this week, two unidentified online buyers successfully bid for a Pierre Cardin suit and a 17th century Dutch painting, the auctioneers confirmed.
The sale was broadcast live on the internet by eAuctionRoom, a startup funded by France Telecom and banker Edmond de Rothschild. eAuctionRoom has been designed to enable consumers to take part in auctions online just as if they were physically present.
But 1200 bidders rushing for the 'auction experience buzz' temporarily jammed video transmission on the site before the auction kicked off on Monday, Drouot admitted. 700 people were present online for the actual auction.
Drouot said it had been a great success and is scheduling some 60 auctions with online participation through June.
Those not au fait with auctions can visit the eAuctionRoom site and go into an 'auction simulation' to find out what actually happens at a fine art and antiques auction before they actually log-on to the real thing.
Anyone can visit the live online auctions, but you can only make a bid if you are registered. To ensure that bids are genuine, and to guard against fraud, banking information is required to validate a potential bidder's registration.
Unlike other online auction sites, eAuctionRoom does not accept payments. These are made direct to the auction house via money transfer, credit card or cheque. Items are delivered once the payment has been cleared. The site also provides an overseas shipping and insurance service.
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