February 5, 2019

Who’s afraid of online auctions?


For many art lovers, the unique experience of taking part in a live auction is still the nicest way to acquire an artwork. Yet pure online auctions are also becoming increasingly popular: the opportunity they offer to bid from the comfort of one’s home, without being under time pressure or having to adhere to the strict timeframe of a live auction is catching on. That is why from the Spring Auction 2019, Karl & Faber is going to be offering Online Only Auctions too. They will be conducted by a computer system instead of a live auctioneer and in cooperation with the Invaluable Online Platform.

These so-called Timed Auctions run for a fixed period of ten days. During this period, buyers can tender bids for a particular lot. Just as in a live auction, it is the person who makes the highest offer who wins the bid. You can register either directly via our website or via Invaluable for the auction and then enter your maximum bid for the desired lot. Invaluable then places bid increments for you so that you remain the highest bidder until you reach your maximum offer. Should you be outbid, you will be notified so that, if you wish, you can increase your maximum offer.

In order to give everyone a fair chance to make a counteroffer, we have opted for the extended bid or “soft close” procedure. This means that if someone bids in the last five minutes before the lot closes, the bidding will automatically be extended for another five minutes.

You can expect the same care and thoroughness in the cataloguing of these lots as is true of all the lots that are auctioned at Karl & Faber. Although we do not prepare additional condition reports, we do upload high-quality photographs of the items, displaying them both from the front and – as far as possible – from the back. You do not have to worry that you will end up with the proverbial pig in a poke either, because with Timed Auctions you have the right to revoke your purchase within fourteen days without giving a reason[1].

Bidding in Timed Auctions progresses at a slower rate. Bidders thus have more time to consider whether they want to bid more or not. That makes them especially good for people bidding for the first time and anxious not to get carried away in the fervour of a live auction. But don’t worry: for all those of you who love making quick decisions and the centuries-old auction tradition, we will of course continue to organise live auctions on our premises – with auctioneers made of flesh and blood and, yes, chocolate Santa Clauses in the run-up to Christmas.

Dates | Online Only:
Wednesday, 24. April – Friday, 3. May 2019: Old Masters & 19th Century
Wednesday, 22 May – Friday, 31 May 2019: Modern Art & Contemporary Art

[1] The revocation period is fourteen days, starting from the day on which you have or a third party designated by you, who is not the carrier, has taken possession of the item.

Text: Sheila Scott is Managing Director at KARL & FABER, Director Modern Art and publicly appointed and sworn auctioneer.