First reported by German business newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, there is news today that Berlin-based auction house Auctionata has filed for insolvency. Auctionata is a multi-focus auction house that offered multiple sales per quarter all over the world without live audiences present. Bidding takes place predominantly online and the format relied heavily on a proprietary live filming system that also encouraged bidders to stop the auction mid-sale to ask their experts questions about the lots as bidding was taking place.
The idea itself was an interesting one, but there were constant claims poor service, fake or mislabeled products, and lack of payment in the watch department. Still, Auctionata has raised over $45 million from the likes of Hearst and MCI Capital, money that will now go to pay the back salaries of the company’s employees. The planned sales – and there are quite a few – will continue as the insolvency procedure begins as the property listed does not belong to Auctionata but the consignors.
Finally, the news is particularly shocking because it was just six months ago that Auctionata completed a merger / acquisition with NY-based Paddle8. The word is that Paddle8 will be purchased back by its original founders thanks to a benevolent investor.
So the question now becomes – who’s brave enough to bid in the Auctionata January 27 watches sale?