The big news out of Saffronart’s Summer auction — which was held entirely online — is that the auctioneer received a bid from a mobile device that exceeded $1m. That’s some sort of a milestone in the transition of the auction business online. The bid would be more momentous had it been part of a live auction but still it marks the growing comfort buyers have with handheld devices. We may soon see bidders sitting in the auction rooms watching the action but driving the prices from discreet activity on their smart phones.
According to India’s excellent Business Standard, Saffronart had bids and underbids amounting to $3.6m coming from smartphones and 12% of the lots attracted those bids. The newspaper also recorded some of the more interesting sales:
The sale was led by Tyeb Mehta’s 1998 canvas ‘Untitled (Kali)’, the last Mehta painted in a series of works on the subject. Fierce bidding on this lot saw it surpass its pre-auction estimate of Rs. 1.25 to 1.75 crores ($287,360 – 402,300), to eventually sell for an unprecedented Rs. 5.72 crores or $1.31 million. Energetic bidding saw several lots cross the $200,000 mark including G. Ravinder Reddy’s monumental gilded head, at Rs. 1.14 crores ($262,055); Manjit Bawa’s luminous 1993 canvas ‘Nayika’, at Rs. 1.08 crores ($248,780); S.H. Raza’s 1951 ‘Carcassonne’, featured on the cover of the auction catalogue, at Rs. 95 lakhs ($218,500); and Jehangir Sabavala’s early canvas, ‘The Bangle Sellers’, at Rs. 87.5 lakhs ($201,250).