When fine art auctions and latest technology meet: Virtual bidding at Sotheby’s with Skype and iPad 2

In the pursuit of a painting by one of Australia’s best-known 20th century female artists, buying agent David Hulme of Banziger Hulme Fine Art Consultants used the latest technology at the Sotheby’s auction of important Australian art on Tuesday evening in Melbourne.

“My client is in the UK. Normally we are on the phone to him when bidding. This time, I wanted to take it a step further, using the latest technolgy available – iPad 2 and Skype. This would allow my client to be virtually ‘in the room’ on the evening of the auction, getting to experience the excitement as directly as I did.”

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David Hulme used the back camera function of the iPad 2 so his client could see exactly the same as he did: auctioneer Martin Gallon selling 97 high-value lots of exquisite Australian art, and simultaneously taking instructions from his client.

The work David Hulme was bidding on behalf of his UK-based client was a much admired still life painting by Grace Cossington Smith which was heavily contested on the night. David Hulme said: “On an estimate of $ 10,000 to $ 15,000 it sold for $ 26,400 including buyer’s premium – unfortunately going to a competing bidder using Australian Dollars and not to our client relying on the weak UK pound. However, I definitely would do this again. My client certainly felt a lot more connected with the process and enjoyed it.”

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