NEW YORK CITY — Six leading regional auction houses have joined forces to launch the online bidding platform Bidsquare.com. The firms, which include Brunk in Asheville, N.C.; Cowan’s in Cincinnati, Ohio; Leslie Hindman in Chicago; Pook & Pook, Inc, in Downingtown, Penn.; Rago in Lambertville, N.J.; and Skinner, Inc, in Boston, have combined annual sales of roughly $200 million. In a notable display of trust, the sometimes rivals have pooled their client mailing lists numbering 100,000 qualified buyers. The founders are inviting other reputable houses to join their initiative.
“We came together to fill a void — to provide a trusted platform that offers only the choicest items available at auction,” said David Rago.
Skinner, Inc, CEO Karen Keane called Bidsquare.com a “game changer,” adding, “We’re providing an unmatched selection of items chosen by leading experts in the field. We also are offering auction houses the opportunity to join an esteemed consortium on a platform that was designed for both quality and transparency. It’s a win/win proposition for the marketplace as a whole.”
As presently configured, Bidsquare.com features 14 categories of merchandise ranging from American, European and Asian fine and decorative arts to jewelry, couture clothing and wine and spirits. The site is searchable by keyword and includes a calendar of upcoming sales and a directory of participating auctioneers. A free database of 600,000 objects provides lot descriptions, prices realized and places and dates of sales.
“We will be adding 100,000 records a year, or multiples of that if other auctioneers join us,” said Rago.
“We are separating the wheat from the chaff. This is a good, honest site. These are real auctions with real goods. The site reflects the services offered by our member firms,” said Ron Pook.
Eighteen sales are presently listed on Bidsquare.com. They range from August online auctions hosted by Hindman, Skinner and Cowan to traditional live sales planned for September.
“We don’t want to be Walmart. We want to provide bidders with a place where they can go where they will see quality items offered by trusted auction houses. We each guarantee our merchandise to be what we say it is or your money back, “ said Cowan.
Cowan added, “We have the ability to market to a prime demographic, qualified buyers. We assumed that our mailing lists were similar. In fact, the overlap was only 20 to 25 percent.”
For additional information, www.bidsquare.com or 855-432-3000.