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Some people still balk at buying a pair of designer loafers online and relish the tactility of trying a dress on in person; but a $1.34 million jewel encrusted bracelet or Babe Ruth’s 1921 home-run baseball bat just shy of $1 million, all unseen? No problem. The Covid crisis has created many a new world, and buying blind is one of them. For those with deep pockets, the money is still there, and with buyers itching to spend, the industry has adapted fast.
“Our online sales program launched in 2016,” says Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s vice chairman, where the Cartier bracelet was sold last month. Here, record prices were also achieved for Cognac ($118,580) sold in any auction (including live sales). “What’s new is really the volume and scale of the program: In 2020 to date, we have held 92 online auctions, totaling $150+