Christie’s to make another attempt at online auction bidding

Christie’s Intl. said it has launched an online auction tool that will allow bidders to participate at live salesroom auctions in real-time from a remote site with a computer.

The auction house held a dry run July 12 for the new online bidding system, called Christie’s Live. The move comes six years after the company abandoned plans to hold online auctions, and three years after rival Sotheby’s pulled the plug on its money-losing online auctions.

Christie’s Live combines real-time video and audio with clear bidding instructions to allow users to “virtually” attend auctions at Christie’s salerooms around the world, the company said in a statement. “Christie’s Live means that collectors and enthusiasts around the world will be able to enjoy the look, sound, and feel of Christie’s auctions from their personal computer,” the company said in a statement.

During its six-month introductory phase, Christie’s Live will be rolled out to selected sales in New York and London, including the October sales of Star Trek memorabilia. The company did not say whether the program will be expanded for jewelry auctions.

“Christie’s Live will allow us to bring to an unlimited online audience the finest property, and those bidders will be able to participate in real-time in the excitement of the live sale room,” said Christie’s Chief Executive Edward Dolman.

Persons wishing to bid on items with Christie’s Live, needs to register at www.christies.com for the sale no later than two business days before the sale. A unique paddle number for that sale will be issued. Registration is required for each sale and participants must download free, customized software from the Web site to speed the online bidding process. This new software has been developed by Auction Management Solutions of Tampa, Fla.