NEW YORK, NY.-
In a sign that fine art collectors are growing ever more comfortable with bidding online, Christies International reports that the top lot in Thursdays sale of The Sze Yuan Tang Archaic Bronzes from the Anthony Hardy Collection sold for $3.3 million to an online bidder, setting a new house record for the most expensive item sold online. The sale price smashed the previous Christies online sales of $1.27 million, set in April 2008 for a Stradavari violin purchased online using Christies LIVE, the companys proprietary online bidding platform.
The new record of $3.3 million was set by an American collector who competed against bidders in the saleroom and on the phone to win the rare Chinese bronze wine vessel Fangyi, from the late Shang dynasty. Widely published and extensively exhibited in museums worldwide, this striking, heavily decorated container and cover is believed to have been a prized ritual vessel at the time of its creation in 12th-11th century BC. Inscriptions on both the vessel and cover record the clan names of the artisans who made the vessel as well as the ancestors to whom the vessel is dedicated. The complete catalogue listing for the vessel may be viewed here
In total, 22% of the lots sold in Thursdays sale, which totaled over $20 million, were sold to or directly underbid by clients using the Christie's LIVE application. Since 2007, every category of fine art, antiques and collectibles sold in Christie's salerooms worldwide have been enabled for online bidding. The most popular collecting categories for online bidding at Christies include Watches, Fine and Rare Wines, and Interiors. Prior to todays sale, three lots have sold online for over the US$1 million mark, including jewelry and Chinese works of art.
Michael ONeal, Senior Vice President and Director of Digital Media at Christies, commented: Todays new house record is a sign that Christies clients are as comfortable bidding online as they are with bidding in person in our salerooms, on the phone, or by absentee ballot. We recognize that our clients are increasingly mobile and rely on the Internet and mobile devices to conduct business with us. We are pleased that Christies LIVE has become such a core component of our auction business since its launch in 2007, and we look forward to rolling out more mobile applications and online enhancements to our clients later this fall.
Christies remains the only international auction house to offer real-time, online bidding in all of its sale categories worldwide. In 2009, $68.4 million (£43.5 million) was bid online including premium and Christies LIVE generated 49,343 accepted bids for the year. 30% of all bids and 14% of all winning bids came in through online channels and the number of winning bidders participating online increased by 40% over 2008. In July 2009, Christies became the first international auction house to launch a mobile application with the announcement of its free app for the iPhone and iTouch. Earlier this summer, Christies expanded its mobile application compatibility to include all mobile phones, regardless of platform or device.