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Internet drives record sales at Christie’s

The Apple-1 personal computer, which sold in an online-only auction in July

An original Apple Mac prototype was the most expensive purchase made through Christie’s online-only auctions in 2013, as the auction house invests in its Internet platform to drive sales.

Christie’s, which is part of Francois-Henri Pinault’s holding company, Groupe Artemis, posted sales of £4.54 billion (€5.5 billion) for the year ended December 2013, up 16% on the previous year – the highest sales total for any auction house in the history of the art market.

It said 30% of its buyers were new in 2013, accounting for 22% of the sales total, with growth markets including China and sales through the Internet.

In July, the auction house held an online-only sale of iconic technology from the 21st century, which included an Apple Mac prototype created by Steve Wozniak in 1976.

The vintage tech collectible, one of the first 25 made, sold for $387,750 (€286,258).

International buyers have also been participating in traditional auction house sales through live webcasts, and in May Zao Wou-Ki’s 09.05.61 sold for HK$13.2 million (€1.3 million).

Chief executive of Christie’s Steven P Murphy said its online platform was providing greater connectivity between buyers, sellers and the “objects of their pursuit”.

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