What You Need To Know Before Bidding In An Online Art Auction!

Auctions are one of the best ways to acquire and add a piece of art to your collection. Whether you are an investor, an art enthusiast or simply looking to redecorate your homes, art auctions can give you access to a wide variety of different pieces of art created and collected throughout history.

How do online auctions generally work?

An auction is a simple process of buying or selling goods and services through a process of subsequent bidding, which increases in value after each bid. The auction houses start the bid at a relatively low price so as to attract a large number of buyers. The buyers can then raise the bids and compete against each other. The product or service under auction is then usually sold to the highest bidder. Auctions are a public event are generally announced weeks in advance along with a full catalog and descriptions of the products that are to be sold. What makes it unique? The final price of the product is determined by the demand and competition among the bidders.

How are auctions useful if you want to acquire a piece of art? With the advent of the Internet and the digital era, online auctions are the latest trend in buying or selling products. This means that you don’t have to be physically present when bidding for an art piece. There are many reputed online art auction sites such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonhams, among others who can help you acquire a great piece of art. You can visit the website during the auction and place your bid from any part of the world.

Pros and Cons of an online art auction

Making the auction process digital has a wide range of benefits.


  1. You can bid from any location- Most online art auctions let you bid from any part of the world. Just how you would bid at a regular auction house, you can place your bid in an online auction. If your bid is successful, the art will then be shipped to your location.
  2. Practically unlimited information at your fingertips- Most auction houses today publish the catalog of items to be auctioned weeks before the event. This gives you enough time to properly research on the item such as its history, value, origins, and much more. With online art auctions, it is much easier to find relevant information for a particular work of art.
  3. More flexible time frames- With a live auction at a physical location, the time frame is usually very strict and rigid. However, there are many online auction sites today that operate 24*7 giving you ample time and resources to place your bid.
  4. No noisy crowds - A live auction can be compared to a crowded marketplace. Constant yelling, shouting, and chaos. However, with an online auction, the entire process is streamlined and calm.


  1. Difficult to judge the product based on the available images or visuals- As most experts agree, a work of art can never truly be appreciated until you are standing right in front of it. With an online auction, you have to depend on visuals and images uploaded on the website to make your decision.
  2. Chances of fraud- With an online art auction, it is always a good choice to choose a reputed website. This can help you decrease the chances of fraud.

Do your homework before placing a bid

Art auction sites such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and others do a business of millions of dollars each year. With online auctions, the record for highest bids keeps getting broken occasionally with single pieces of art fetching millions in the auction.

So what exactly do you need to do before placing a bid? Do your homework! General research into the product can give you tons of relevant information that can help you reach a ballpark estimate for the value of the art. Additionally, consulting art advisors is a sensible option to get a professional opinion and estimate. If and when possible, try to visit the presale exhibitions and see the art for yourself to get a better understanding.