For Auctioneers: Live Bidding Platforms

LiveAuctioneers v. ArtFact/Invaluable/AuctionZip

In a head to head comparison, posting the same two auctions across these platforms, LiveAuctioneers is the winner for auctioneers hands down. This is bad news for auctioneers who post live auctions through ArtFact’s three bidding interfaces exclusively, but good news for bidders who find auctions only posted through ArtFact. These bidders will face less competition, that is, unless there is a LiveAuctioneers bidding applet in the room. AuctionZip which has been long established in the industry does have redeeming qualities, but not as a live bidding platform. Here are actual session results from two recent auctions:

Auction of Rare Books, Antique Maps, Historical Autographs & Manuscripts

  • LiveAuctioneers: Registered bidders = 211; Total online sales = $20,450
  • AuctionZip Live: Registered Bidders = 53; Total online sales = $625

This auction was posted only on the two platforms. There are several other sales statistics each platform offer, but total exposure and the bottom line are the important ones for those of us in the business. Page views, watchers, absentee and consul bids, were exponentially higher on LiveAuctioneers as well.

Auction of Fine Art, Decorative Art, Antiques and Asian Arts

  • LiveAuctioneers: Registered bidders = 682; Total online sales = $106,390
  • ArtFact/AuctionZip/Invaluable: Registered bidders = 128; Total online sales = $3,205

This was a much bigger option so we opted for maximum exposure, posting to LiveAuctioneers and all three of ArtFact’s platforms. Hopeful for a better result across all three, we just didn’t see it at all.

AuctionZip Pros

AuctionZip is still the go to place for people to find an auction nearby and for auction houses to post free or paid classifieds and get a tremendous amount of exposure. Every one of our auctions makes it on Zip in some way, usually a free classified post with many images. As far as a live online bidding platform, Zip still has a ways to go. Zip’s live bidding platform as it is today is a result of merging with ArtFact & Invaluable with the ability to post the same auction through all three sites simultaneously. Unfortunately, the results speak for themselves.

About Berkeley Brown
Anson Brown, co-founder and principal of Auction Exclusive, is an expert in rare books, prints, antique maps, historical manuscripts and autographs. He is also well versed in a variety of fine and decorative arts and antiques and has 7 years experience in the auction industry. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from George Mason University and and Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

4 thoughts on “For Auctioneers: Live Bidding Platforms

  1. I’m confused about the services offered by ArtFact and Invaluable. Would you please compare and contrast the two? It’s expensive to join Invaluable, while ArtFact is free. Can you search by keyword or artist for antiques and art through ArtFact like you can on Invaluable? I’m not interested in the live bidding part of it. I’m interested in finding specific objects, in auction houses around the world, that I collect. Thanks.

    • ArtFact began as a fine art appraisal website catering to appraisers and auction houses with online data including artists, images and prices realized submitted by auction houses form all over the world. Appraisers still use the service as a database for artists. Its redeeming qualities are that it allows you to really refine queries and it has some really obscure data. On the down side it is cumbersome, slow and the vast majority of the data they offer is available for free elsewhere. By contrast, LiveAuctioneers offers a simple search *whatever you can type into that search bar) which can return a lot of data and result in information overload. You will find auction data and many comparable pieces with full descriptions and prices with a free membership on LiveAuctioneers. Nevertheless, we still use ArtFact, AskArt & LiveAuctioneers for our research every day. Today ArtFact & Invaluable are exactly the same, catering to two different markets (U.S. & Europe).

      In my opinion, it’s a matter of preference. My superiors who are all, shall I say older, think it’s great. But if you ask our catalogers who are in the trenches working intimately with pieces, LiveAuctioneers is as good a reference as any, much faster and accurate enough. I will do another post on this subject b/c the devil is in the details. I would say, try LiveAuctioneers free data and see if it works for you prior to spending the money.

  2. I get quite different search results from LiveAuctioneers vs. Invaluable/Artfact. I guess I need to search both. One thing I don’t understand is that, I believe, Invaluable charges a subscription to search current auctions whereas Artfact allows me to search for free, and they give the same results. My Invaluable subscription (for searching upcoming auctions only) expires tomorrow. If I can do the same searching on Artfact for free, I certainly won’t renew my expensive subscription with Invaluable! Am I correct that I can do free unlimited searching of upcoming auctions on Artfact, and the search results are now the same as Invaluable?

    • No… they won’t necessarily be the same. When we post an auction through ArtFact, we have the option to also post throgh Invaluable & AuctionZip or any combination of the three. I would say about 80% of auctions are posted on both. Yes, you can search upcoming auctions for free on ArtFact, as far as I am aware! It used to be that way. It’s the past auctions they charge you for…