Alexander Zacke (b. 1966) lives his life in two worlds. He moves in the discreet anterooms of the international art market as surely as in the transparent world of digital trade. It’s no wonder, therefore, that his own venture, located in Berlin und New York, crosses the divide between these two seemingly contradictory spheres. This dedicated and enterprising art expert had the vision of bringing an art-sales and auction house online with all its functions. The crux of the idea was an internet equivalent of the classic auction room situation. In 2012, Alexander Zacke accomplished this vision together with Auctionata cofounder Georg Untersalmberger.
At Auctionata everyone interested from all over the world will find all the facets that make up a real auction: via live stream, Auctionata brings the auction room into your living room real-time, as if you were actually present. All you need is a laptop, tablet or other mobile devices. They will give you a view of both the auctioneer and the object, as well as provide real-time information on all the bidding activities of the participating parties, and a live bidding function – and all this in HD.
Although the big multinational auction companies already offer “online“ services for their auctions, they in fact at best provide online participants a “spectator mode”, without guaranteeing them equal security for placing bids. Apart from “real” online auctions, Auctionata offers a shop where objects are sold at a fixed price, and all services of a classical art and auction house. They are ranging from evaluation, appraisal and authentication of precious objects – enabled by the 250 members of the worldwide largest network of experts for art, antiques and collectibles – and marketing of precious objects, along with allassociated logistics.
At Auctionata, determining prices in the back rooms of the galleries have had their day. Thus, according to Zacke, the more open and documentable appraisals become, the easier it will be for the individual to buy and sell art, antiques, and collectors’ items: “We do not need an old-established brand, a printed catalogue, presentation areas or auction rooms. We go to the living rooms of our customers. This is E-Commerce in its purest form.” Zacke himself stems from a family of art dealers and began his career in 1985 as an expert in Asian art. Subsequently, he became engaged in the organization, expansion, and supervision of the Asian Department at the well-known Vienna auction house, the Dorotheum, which much later had to close down this specialty department because of a counterfeit scandal. Since 1997, Zacke has been active as an art expert and auctioneer worldwide.Already in 1998, Zacke discovered his passion for on-line commerce. He joined e-Bay and quickly became a “powerseller.” He was active as a docent in the e-Bay Academy and was a driving force in the expansion of e-Bay’s online platform in Europe and in his Austrian homeland.
Zacke was an advisor and confidante of Meg Whitman, CEO of e-Bay from 1998 until 2008. In recognition, she acknowledges that “no-one in Europe knows more about auctions than the Zackes.” In this statement, Whitman is also referring to Susanne Zacke, who has guided Auctionata from the beginning, and as Chief Sales Officer, is in charge of the marketing of the online art- and auction-house.
Auctionata: Disrupting the global fine art market by transferring classic auctions to the Internet. What are the ingredients of success?