Marketplace Focus: Catawiki

Dutch start up online auction house Catawiki is launching in the UK having raised $82 million to grow their business.

With over 15,000 weekly auctions in 60 categories, and 12 million international visitors per month, Catawiki is the site for buying and selling special objects. This isn’t a site where you dump your entire stock for auctions, but they do aim to cut into eBay’s market for specialist items which will realise a high final value selling price.

Catawiki auctions start every Friday, with each one ending on a particular night of the week. The auctions are supervised by specialised auctioneers, guaranteeing varied and high quality lot listings. The auctions are frequented by a massive international audience, looking for everything from comic to wines, from works of art to classic cars, and from valuable stamps to precious jewellery.

The original business idea was to build a catalogue (a Wiki) for comic books, an interest of the founder. This was supplemented by auctions which have taken over the catalogue, but the name remains. They have now expanded to cover many new categories.

René Schoenmakers, co-founder and chief executive of Catawiki says “We are in the unique position of being able to fill the gap between Ebay and the more traditional auction houses“. Even without a presence in the UK, they have a following from avid UK collectors.

Sales attract a 12.5% commission fee excluding VAT but there are no fees on shipping costs. There is also a 9% buyers fee charged on top of the sale price and shipping. Usually auctions start at €1, but reserves for items expected to attract high values can be set by speaking to the auctioneers.

Catawiki is not eBay. There are no fixed price items. You won’t put your bulk imported items on the site. However if you’re a seller of collectibles or have a one off high ticket item to sell it might be worth considering.