LiveAuctioneers’ CEO makes symbolic purchase as eBay Live signs off

A symbolic purchase made by LiveAuctioneers' CEO, Julian R. Ellison, this grouping of Van Briggle pottery represents the final lot sold through eBay Live Auctions prior to its closure. The pieces will be housed in LiveAuctioneers' corporate archive.

A symbolic purchase made by LiveAuctioneers’ CEO, Julian R. Ellison, this grouping of Van Briggle pottery represents the final lot sold through eBay Live Auctions prior to its closure. The pieces will be housed in LiveAuctioneers’ corporate archive.

NEW YORK (ACNI) – It didn’t take long for the technology sector to produce its first major story of 2009: eBay’s closure of its Live Auctions division and the passing of the baton to eBay Live’s marketing partner of five years,

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2008, the hammer fell on the last auction lot ever to be sold online through eBay Live Auctions. The seller was Belhorn Auction Services of Columbus, Ohio. The winner of the lot – a grouping of four pieces of Van Briggle pottery in the Ming turquoise colorway – was none other than LiveAuctioneers’ CEO, Julian Ellison.

While Ellison is a collector of many things, he is not ordinarily a buyer of pottery. “It was purely a symbolic purchase, and a very important one,” Ellison said. “The articles represent a new era for LiveAuctioneers and will become part of our corporate archive.”


Since last May, when eBay announced it would close down its Live Auctions service on Dec. 31, LiveAuctioneers’ Internet Technology department has been working nonstop – including weekends and holidays – to develop an independent bidding platform to take over from eBay Live. Thanks to the department’s dedication, the test platform became available for potential bidders to use more than two weeks prior to the changeover. Customer feedback was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.

“What we heard most often was that the platform is a very clean, modern design and easy to use,” said Ellison. “I think that there was some apprehension about what the platform would look like – that it might seem very unfamiliar to those who had become accustomed to eBay Live over the past several years. But that has not been the case at all. There has been a sense of relief expressed by users, who say we’ve made it a painless transition.”

Ellison said a flood of bidders has come to LiveAuctioneers in the week leading up to New Year’s Day. “Today [Dec. 31] we saw hundreds of people registering to bid online in Brunk’s January 3rd and 4th sale. That particular auction contains extremely important fine art and antiques, so we expect to see hundreds more signing up in the first few days of 2008.”

LiveAuctioneers concluded 2008 with an all-time record number of active auction-house clients: 766. Other important statistics achieved by LiveAuctioneers to date include:

·    5,539,865 Lots Listed
·    12,294 Auctions Listed
·    57,398,650 Images Hosted
·    3,100,663 Bidders Participating in Online Auctions

One of LiveAuctioneers’ most highly valued features, according to auctioneers, is the searchable auction results database. “We have always felt that this information should be free and that there is no reason why auction houses, journalists or scholars should have to pay hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars for subscriptions to art price services,” said Ellison. “There are more than 4.7 million results available in LiveAuctioneers’ archive, most of them illustrated, that anyone can access by going to our Web site. We know, for instance, that many auction houses find our archive to be extremely useful during the cataloging process, as the prices are so current and reliable.”

In early September LiveAuctioneers launched Auction Central News, a digital newspaper devoted to coverage of news from the world of auctions, fine art and antiques. “It is a unique vehicle, and one that auction houses have embraced as a significant outlet for their previews and postsale reports,” said Ellison. “From the beginning, we set out to make it a quality product, incorporating Associated Press articles, columns written by such renowned authorities as Kovels, and our own excellent original editorial content. There is no faster way to obtain credible information about auctions than through Auction Central News.”

LiveAuctioneers also enjoys an exclusive content-sharing relationship with its affiliate company QM4G Media, publishers of the digital monthlies Style Century Magazine and Toy Collector Magazine.

Ellison said a great deal of credit is owed to eBay Live for its immeasurable contribution to the auction trade. “We at LiveAuctioneers will always be incredibly grateful to eBay, not only for its ground-breaking technology that changed the auction business forever, but also for its ability to attract a customer base of bidders that we were so fortunate to absorb and retain through our long-standing marketing partnership,” he said. “Now the online bidding landscape has changed, and LiveAuctioneers is moving forward confidently, with an outstanding family of products and a track record for customer service that is second to none. I believe 2009 will be a watershed year for LiveAuctioneers.”

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