Barnebys And How to Search Auctions Worldwide

6 November 2015

In the past bidding and buying auction necessitated a personal visit to your local auctioneers. If you were lucky your salesrooms would be offering the items that you wanted, whilst specialist or collectable items could involve much longer journeys.

Everyone knows Ebay, which started as a local effort and surprised even its founder as it grew to cover the globe. Multiple other online-only sale platforms as well as auctioneers live bid websites have since appeared – the rise and rise of the online auction reducing the effort required to a simple registration process and click of a button.

Even for big ticket items like blue chip fine art or collectable automobiles the major auction houses have now all realised that you can indeed sell anything at any price via the web and they too have leaped onto the online bandwagon. The entire variety of art, culture and design from 1 cent to $100 million is all now available to purchase from the comfort of your sofa.

With choice of course comes complication. A search for a specific photograph by, say, Terry O’Neill could involve days searching multiple upcoming auctions and still be incomplete. It was this growing problem that actually led Christian Barnekow to develop a way to search easily across multiple auctions. The resultant website – named barnebys as a play on his surname – is now the biggest of its type in the world. It now covers hundreds of thousands of lots from over 1000 auction houses – a number increasing daily – and makes a complex search achievable in moments – it is an invaluable resource that we use here almost every day. Terry O'Neill

Another familiar problem for potential buyers is that once you’ve found a Terry O’Neill you need to know its value? Up to now expensive subscriptions to companies like Artnet and Mutualart were needed for, not always satisfactory, access to their databases. A free search at barnebys ‘realised prices’ instantly supplies over a hundred full Terry O’Neill auction records between 1998 to now and allows a quick and easy comparison of other similar works. It is an excellent and desperately needed service.

Within barnebys the auctions and results are split in to categories. There are around thirty of these that cover the world of art, design and culture. Fashion & Vintage, Jewellery & Gems, Photographs, Sculpture and Furniture & Design – are examples – and its a great place to search for that piece of designer furniture for the front room or perhaps some designer heels. You can search by any keyword, product or alternatively browse individual auction houses and sales.

Many other useful features are available via the barnebys site including access to a blog with the latest art and culture oriented news and market research. Last but not least is a free appraisal service – simply send details of your item via an online form (here) – details are then forwarded to auction experts for valuation. Andy Warhol Marilyn

We also very much like the website layout which is a mddl of clarity and easy to use. All good reasons that barnebys should be saved amongst everyone’s ‘favourite’ websites.  Now, maybe we’ll just put a quick bid on that Picasso ‘La Gommeuse’ at £38 million or maybe the Warhol Marilyn Monroe instead?

For more information visit