Sotheby's has been a leader in the world of auctions for over 270 years. Now we're offering a new way to bid, with the same legendary history, expertise, and property. This is the classic Sotheby's experience, with an innovative twist.


Live auction bidding is quick and lively, so if there's something you want, act fast. Each item is only for sale for about 2 minutes.

Join the action

Just like attending an auction in person, watch each bid as it comes in. When you're ready to bid, it's a simple click.

Keep pace with the bidding

Watch as bidding for an item gets more energetic. Follow the bids all the way until an item is sold.

Flip through the catalog

See what's up for auction next and find out what other items in the event sold for.



An event is a group of items scheduled for auction at a specific day and time. Events are organized around theme or category like American Furniture, Important Watches, or Photography.

Buyer's Premium

When you win a live auction, you pay a buyer's premium—the rate payable by the buyer to Sotheby's, calculated as a percentage of a lot's sale price.


Successful buyers automatically receive a comprehensive shipping quote from Sotheby's, emailed following the end of the auction.

Item or lot?

Traditionally, auction houses call the items they sell “lots". In live auctions, both “lot" and “item" mean the same thing.

Terms of Guarantee

The guarantee of authorship, period, culture, or origin of the lot is provided by Sotheby's. For a full statement of the extent of this guarantee, please refer to the full text of Sotheby’s Terms of Guarantee.


A live event can last for a few hours. Because items are sold one-by-one, it can be difficult to predict exactly when a specific item will come up for auction. As a guide, 40 lots are generally offered in an hour. Alternatively, if you are not able to attend a live event, you can leave an advance bid.


If you are the successful buyer in a live auction, Sotheby's will send you an invoice. Sotheby's does not accept payment by credit card. Accepted forms of payment are bank transfer or check from the buyer of record, who must be the same as the registered bidder.

Mobile bidding

Live auction items are not available on all mobile devices. To browse and bid on live auction items, go to on your tablet, desktop or laptop.

FAQs & Glossary