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Instant online auctions on Christies

Right now it’s possible to click on Christies.com and bid on a Warhol drawing, a Helmut Newton photograph and an ostrich Hermès Birkin bag. Often there is a selection of rare wines to be purchased there, too.
In 2013, the auction house introduced a buy-it-now feature echoing eBay that offers a head-spinning variety of watches that can be snapped up instantly. “The main objective here is the acquisition of new clients,” said Steven P. Murphy, Christie’s chief executive. “We’re building our online business the old-fashioned way, brick by brick.”
The auction house has invested $50 million in hiring experts and building its own infrastructure.

Both Christie’s and its rival Sotheby’s introduced online bidding during their live auctions about four years ago. Their success, coupled with the realization that a new population of online shoppers is waiting to be tapped around the world, is what is driving their focus on online-only sales.
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