Last year we told you of the launch of eBay live auctions, which allows eBay buyers an opportunity to discover, browse, and bid on inventory from world-class traditional auction houses. The ongoing live auction events have been very successful and well attended by many of eBay's over 155 million active buyers. There is almost nothing like the thrill of joining the real-time bidding to acquire that one special piece for yourself, or someone you love. For example, earlier this year we saw Elvis Presley's first record sell for an astounding $300,000 through eBay live auctions.
In addition, last year that we announced that eBay would be teaming up with Sotheby's to bring you even more unique and interesting items. Today we are glad to say that the wait is over: Sotheby's live auction items from New York will be available on eBay as of April 1st (and this is no April Fool's joke!).
Sotheby's is no stranger to selling remarkable and unique items over the course of its long and storied history. Sotheby's was founded in 1744 by Samuel Baker, and its first auction involved the sale of the library of Sir John Stanley. From those humble beginnings, Sotheby's grew in prestige, and is now considered one of the premier auction houses in the world. In the last couple decades, Sotheby's auctioned off some very remarkable items including the world's largest white truffle (sold for over $61K), a 1933 Double Eagle coin for $7.6 million, and much more. In addition, given this blog's focus on remarkable listings sold on eBay, we feel a kinship with the folks who maintain the myriad of auction blogs from the Sotheby's site. Read more here.
The Sotheby's experience on eBay can be seen at ebay.com/sothebys. We highly recommend you take a look around and see if there are any items that catch your fancy, then register to bid, and finally set yourself a reminder to come back to eBay and bid on these items starting on April 1. A quick look around the Sotheby's experience on eBay shows a number of truly fascinating and unique items, with incredible stories (and videos!) of their own.
To kick things off on April 1st there will be two auction catalogs available, the New York sale and the Photographs sale. The Photographs sale is described as "(t)he history of photography summed up in 188 lots, from European Modernism, to fashion portraiture, to contemporary works by masters of the medium," while the New York sale is described as including "iconic art and collectibles that reflect the diversity, energy, and creativity inherent to the City that Never Sleeps." Given my own fascination with New York, I had to dig a little deeper, and found a few items that are representative not only of what is on sale at this auction, but of New York City itself.
First up is this iconic piece, from Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, entitled "La Liberté éclairant le monde:"
No, that is not the actual 151 foot Statue of Liberty, but it is one of 12 numbered castings of the original plaster of the world famous statue that stands at the entrance to New York city. The listing description goes into a lot of detail, and is worth a read in its entirety. Here are some highlights:
"In 1875 Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi presented to the newly formed Franco-American Committee a baked clay model measuring 48 inches tall representing La liberté éclairant le monde. She took the form of a Greek goddess wearing a crown of seven lances representing the seven continents and the seven seas. In her right hand, she brandished a torch that symbolized the flame that enlightens Man; in her left hand was a plaque on which was written “July IV MDCCLXXVI” the date of the Declaration of Independence. At her feet lay broken iron shackles, symbols of the end of the reign of tyranny.
This model would, by the time of its dedication on Bedloe's Island in 1886, be replicated to a height of 151 feet and 1 inch. The Statue of Liberty, as this colossus is best known, has guarded the entrance to New York Harbor for 129 years. The figure of La liberté éclairant le monde makes three prestigious claims: that of being the world’s best-known monument, that of being a symbol still in the news more than 125 years after her conception, and that of being the best known work of art and sculpture in the world. An iconic emblem of New York, Lady Liberty also speaks to the world; she is a nineteenth-century symbol that has more relevance than ever in the twenty-first century.
The present lot, created from the plaster in the Musée des Arts et métiers, Conservatoire National des Arts et métiers, embodies the ideology that Bartholdi held dear as well as modern technology he would respect. La liberté éclairant le monde is an icon that, though familiar, exploited, trivialized and infinitely reproduced, has made us forget the heroic effort and technological ability that went into her creation."
This piece is estimated to be sold at between $800,000 and $1.2 million. What price for Liberty, indeed?
If the Statue of Liberty weren't iconic enough, how about the actual 1976 Yankees Stadium Sign?
In this case, we are not talking about a small plaster casting of the sign, but the actual sign itself! Each letter is 10 feet tall, and there are 13 letters in all. Can you guess what it used to spell out? From the listing:
"Sotheby’s is delighted to be offering the sign from the old Yankee Stadium. It is not only a monumental item of sporting memorabilia, but also an immediately recognizable icon of one of New York’s most storied landmarks, and one of the world’s most renowned franchises.
The Yankees have played in the Bronx since the building of the original stadium in 1923, when Babe Ruth christened his new home with a three-run homer to best the Boston Red Sox in a 4-1 win. Except for the addition of lights in 1946 and paint in the mid-1960s, the look of Yankee Stadium would remain relatively the same until the Stadium's 50th-Anniversary season in 1973, when the Yankees moved to Shea Stadium for two seasons while their stadium was modernized and renovated.
On April 15, 1976 Yankee Stadium reopened having undergone two years of renovation. The new façade of the building featured the thirteen 10-foot letters in this lot; whether lit or unlit, this sign ensured Yankee Stadium was seen by the millions of fans who travelled by bus, car or subway to the stadium. These lights lit the way for 32 years, until the stadium’s closure in 2008."
Just think how this would look at your local Little League fields!
There are so many great pieces available, it is best just to head over to the New York event page and browse through them all. Then get ready for the live auction on April 1st, and get ready to get going, going... sold!