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Sotheby's and eBay announced a partnership on Monday to make it easier to buy antiques, collectibles and works of fine art online. The international auction house and the online marketplace plan to broadcast live auctions from the New York headquarters of Sotheby's that will include real-time bidding from anywhere in the world. Auctions from other locations could follow. The deal will connect Sotheby's, with its extensive inventory of fine art, antiques, books, jewels, watches and furniture, with eBay's 145 million active buyers around the world. Total sales in the global art and antiques market rose 8 percent to $65.9 billion last year, the highest level since 2007, with Asian buyers playing an increasingly important role, according to the European Fine Art Foundation's annual report. Online sales could grow at a rate of at least 25 percent per year after accounting for around 5 percent of sales in 2013, the foundation said. Sotheby's said online bidders competed for 17 percent of the total lots it offered in 2013 while the number of lots purchased online jumped 36 percent compared to 2012.
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