Sotheby's auctions can be prohibitively expensive, but part of the problem is getting there in the first place; not everyone can send people to bid on their behalf. Distance shouldn't be an issue in the near future, though. The company has struck a deal that will have eBay launch a special section for "rare, unique and premium" (i.e. costly) goods where Sotheby's will stream live auctions worldwide, complete with real-time bidding. The section will be limited to New York auctions when it launches in the fall, and it won't include the biggest sales. In short, you won't be scoring a Monet from the comfort of your couch. Sotheby's will eventually expand to other locations, however, so you might not be stuck if some valuable antique goes up for grabs in Hong Kong.